Natural Horizons
What if your customers were so loyal that they wrote books and songs about you?

In 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 “Alfalfa’s,” 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, Alfalfa’s 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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