I remember it vividly. My shock and awe at seeing a store like none I had ever seen before. It was huge, bright and packed floor to ceiling with nothing but the natural products that back in the 1980’s were only seen in little 1,000 and 2,000 square foot stores that were often hard to find and weren’t always that nice to shop in. This big huge place sold nothing with refined sugar and the produce if not all organic certainly seemed to be.
The store was Mrs. Gooch’s in Beverly Hills. I watched the cars pull up to the door while where clerks in aprons packed their bags into the trunks of their BMW’s and Mercedes. Of course what I saw was the future.
Visiting LA today I realized how fully the vision of Gooch and others has arrived. We’ve come a long way bay. Whole Foods, which bought Gooch’s, Bread & Circus and so many more then remarkable small chains, is mainstream now, even among those who don’t care about organic and still use bleach in their wash. Like MTV, WFM revolutioned the world, but instead of music, it revolutionized the world of foodies but also the of soccer Moms driving Volvo wagons and soccer Dad’s wearing Patagonia fleece.
Looking ahead NBN wonders what’s next, where’s the next innovation, the revolution that will change the way we shop.
In LA I saw another store, one I had never seen before. It was a storefron Laser Tattoo Removal Shop on Wilshire Boulevard near the border of Beverly Hills. I laughed, thinking about the past and that glorious Mrs. Gooch’s and the future it created. Laser Tattoo’s aren’t likely creating a new future, but hey, only time will tell.
In the meantime we’re excited about 2006. More and more players are entering the field and we wonder if the next Sandy Gooch is writing a business plan somewhere same time you’re reading this.