Local Companies Not Threatened by Competition - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Local Companies Not Threatened by Competition

Mark Fergusson Mark Fergusson
Damian and Karen Paul Damian and Karen Paul
Robert Gratz Robert Gratz

By Kristine Uyeno

(KHNL) - Another national supermarket chain is entering the market, but local companies don't feel threatened. Whole Foods is planning stores on Oahu and Maui, beginning with a Kahala Mall locale next year.

"We're not particularly worried about Whole Foods entering the market," said Mark Fergusson, chief executive officer for Down to Earth.

Down to Earth is one of the largest and oldest natural food stores in Hawaii. Fergusson says the two companies are very different.

"Whole Foods is very upscale and fancy and more elite, whereas Down to Earth, we're more a community-based store," he said.

Whole Foods plans to open a store in Kailua, just a block away from the organic store, The Source Natural Foods. "I think Whole Foods coming into Hawaii is great for the people of Hawaii. It's going to be a better selection of all-natural organic foods," said Damian Paul, owner.

Both locally-owned companies will continue doing what they do and find ways to be unique. Down to Earth is undergoing expansion plans, renovating its Honolulu store and offering more products.

Both Hawaii companies don't feel too threatened by the arrival of Whole Foods, but hope customers will remain loyal. "I'm sure I'll go there based on price and quality, I'll make my choice," said Robert Gratz, customer.

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