Does Big = Bad?

We received the below comment as a reply to a post on our Facebook page regarding our Timonium grand opening coming up this weekend…

“Absolutely love my Bowie Store….Please don’t expand too much under the same name and ownership…spread the love….I would hate for my favorite store to become an evil corporation….seems the inevitable with all big operations.”

This customer is obviously concerned- and I have thought about this issue a lot as we ramp up for substantial growth.

I do not believe that “Big” automatically = “Bad”.  I think there are unethical small companies and wonderful large companies- and visa versa.  I think that when a bad company gets large, it has the power to do horrible things… Enron, Nestle, Monsanto, entire industries such as tobacco, oil, coal, etc.  The list isn’t short, unfortunately.

When a company is socially responsible however, I think the larger that company gets, the better.

At MOM’s, our Purpose is to protect and restore the environment.  This is a goal we will never stop working towards.  The bigger we get, the more influence we will have over other businesses (leading by example), the more consumers we’ll be able to educate and be a resource for (recycling drives, electric car charging stations, banning bottled water, signing up for wind power, etc.), and the more we’ll be able to influence the grocery industry in general.

As we open more stores and move into new regions, we will show our customers and other businesses many different ways to protect and restore the environment and we will be more able to financially support environmental groups who are working hard side-by-side with us.

The way I see it, the longer MOM’s reach, the better for the communities we enter- and for the world.

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14 Responses to Does Big = Bad?

  1. Cara says:

    Since MOM’s is getting bigger and better, when are you going to have stock?

    • Scott says:

      Cara- I don’t think that day will ever come. I hear to be a public company is a real pain- and I would worry about not being able to run MOM’s the way we want it run, with our Purpose front and center.

  2. Sherri says:

    Since Mom’s is getting bigger, will prices go down for some items?

    • Scott says:

      Sherri- given inflation, I don’t think prices in general will ever go down. Being bigger though, does increase our buying power, which prevents us from having to raise prices- and indeed on various products, allows us to reduce prices.

      Not sure if you noticed on our Facebook page or the signage in the store, but Consumer Checkbook Magazine did an objective price comparison of 152 organic items among MOM’s, Wegman’s, Whole Foods, Giant, Safeway, and Harris Teeter- and we beat them all by a good margin! We are able to do this also with our low overhead model.

  3. prls says:

    Now that summer is almost here, any chance that the bulk spice /department will carry seafood/crab boil seasoning?

    • Scott says:

      prls- I’d rather this blog stay “on point” to the topic at hand as much as possible. Nonetheless, here is a reply from our grocery department-

      “That’s not a sku I would be comfortable selling in bulk – we only put high volume sellers in bulk spices – for freshness reasons. I will add their bottle of organic seafood seasoning. Do you know which store they shop at? “

  4. Carmen says:

    Hi Scott – I am working on blog project with my Mom this summer and wanted to ask Mom’s Organic Market about getting involved. Is the best way to contact your marketing team through your website?

  5. Andrew says:

    I recently finished the book “Small is still beautiful: Economics as Families mattered,” and it has a lot to say about co-ops and employee-owned companies. It says that companies should never get beyond 350 employees and if they do they should be decentralized in some way, with some umbrella entity overseeing coordination between the two. As I read this, I thought about the stores like MOMs and the recent new store opening. I worked for a company that kept growing and growing and the culture went out the window once we got to a certain size. We were completely beholden to the shareholders and anything that didn’t improve the bottom line was cut. I never want to see a store like MOMs become that way. The employees really seem to like their work and I love shopping a small store with a respectable set of ideals.

    • Scott says:

      Andrew- I will get the book. It sounds like it’s right up my alley. As long as I’m running MOM’s, I will do my very best to keep our Purpose and culture top priority.

      • Sue says:

        Note that the aforementioned book is referring to shareholders’ interests overcoming the corporate culture. That means the company is publicly traded. Shareholders’ interests are primarily focused on making a profit. A privately held corporation has no such burden.

  6. Mamie says:

    Found your website through AOL. You already know I will be signing up to your rss.

  7. Heather says:

    I love that you have expanded to Timonium! I have to keep myself from going inside more than once a week!

  8. Katy says:

    Since I have been shopping at MOM’s about 2.5 years, I have always thought that the only VA store was not enough. However I had the same concern about MOM’s turning into a big “whole foods” type grocery store. But like you said, the bigger you become the more you can do for the better. Expanding outside of the Maryland/Virginia area might be a bit much, but I think it’s great that the public will have more of an option for organic groceries. Plus the more locations you have the less consumers will have to drive to get to your markets. Having more grocery stores strategically placed will allow for less car pollution and more bike commuting for groceries! That’s one thing I love about the Alexandria store! I, like many other’s ride their bikes to get groceries!

  9. Pingback: Selling In | Scott's Compost Pile

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