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Western Pioneer

Western Pioneer

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A legend of the natural foods industry received yet another honor this week.

Sandy Gooch, the name behind the pioneering Mrs. Gooch’s Natural Foods Market, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Natural Foods Merchandiser, a unit of New Hope Natural Media. (New Hope and Supermarket News are both part of Penton Media.)

Gooch launched the operation in the late 1970s with a 5,000 square foot unit in Southern California, according to an article on the web site of Natural Foods Merchandiser. Products that met her standards became widely known as “Goochable.”

In 1993, Gooch had seven stores with 830 employees and annual volume of $90 million. In that same year, she sold the operation to Whole Foods Market.

However, her reputation has only grown since then, and she remains closely tied to those in the industry.

In accepting the achievement award, Gooch saluted a long list of industry luminaries for their work in advancing the natural products business. These included other pioneers, wellness doctors, organic farmers and even Danny Wegman, the head of supermarket Wegmans Food Markets.