What if your customers
were so loyal that they wrote books and songs about you?
1983, Natural Horizons was a small, 2,000 square foot
natural foods grocery store in Boulder, CO. Driven by the belief
that health food stores were viable as full service grocery
stores, they took an option on a space ten times as large.
Suddenly, Natural Horizons was faced with the challenge of
negotiating a new lease and organizing resources to successfully
design, renovate, move to the new location, and open for
business all within 90 days!
Even more complex questions loomed. How would they attract a
larger customer base and compete with giant supermarket chain
stores? How would they deal with increasing numbers of vendors
and suppliers? How would they hire and train new employees?
Natural Horizons personnel heard that MG Taylor was able to help them answer
these questions by bringing people, ideas, and resources together into a collaborative
process. They decided to use the MG Taylor DesignShop® system. Board members,
architects, contractors, vendors, suppliers, lawyers, landlords, employees,
and customers joined together to design the new enterprise. 89 days later the
new store, known as Alfalfas, celebrated its gala opening.
During three DesignShop days, they developed a shared vision which still drives
the organization. Five years later they held another DesignShop to design change
of ownership and explosive growth simultaneously.
Today, Alfalfas is an exemplary organization in the way
it adds value to customers, employees, and stockholders. To date,
there are eleven stores located in the United States which
contribute to the well being of their communities so much so that
loyal customers write books and songs about them. Beyond customer
loyalty, the organization has exceptional market value,
sufficient enough that a Japanese multi-national corporation
wishing to enter the U.S. natural foods industry attempted a
takeover in 1990, and failed.
In three months the first store was up and running, and
became the basis of their multi-million dollar grocery
chain which is so successful they now have to fight off
hostile takeover attempts. Leaping
the Abyss: Putting Group Genius to Work, by Gayle Pergamit
& Chris Peterson.
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