December 26, 2000, 9:55 AM

A "whole" lot of living going on

In the market for some new solar panels? How about information on homeopathic or holistic health remedies? Or are you searching for clothes made with organic and natural fibers? If that doesn’t suit your fancy, how about some hemp floor mats or shower curtains?

This certainly isn’t your everyday Web retail site, but that’s exactly what Whole Foods Market is betting on with its new spin-off Wholepeople.com.

He says that although groceries are on the site, this is a much different set of products. We estimate that only 15% of our products online will be overlapped in the stores by the end of the year.

We have been spun-off from Whole Foods Market so we can invest in the business. We are an Internet subsidiary-a non-consolidated subsidiary.

This is a new category for Web sites. We have created something that isn’t comparable to anything on the Web. We call it the “whole living” category.

The range of products is non-parishable food, nutrition-there is so much available in nutrition that stores can’t stock everything. We can. That covers homeopathic remedies, herbal nutrition and alternative medicine. Also will include health and body-shampoos creams and salves which are not animal tested, and are organic. We are also moving into natural home products such as hemp floor mats to beenie babies made by women in a Sri Lanka cooperative to complete solar panel and pumping systems setups. This whole range of products called natural home will grow quickly. We are starting with about 3,000 products in that category.

Is there a market for that stuff on the Internet? He says the Internet is probably the best place to get those things because there is a limited supply for these products and so many different ways of doing it, that the Internet is a great place to learn and get information. Travel-cultural walking adventures. That is what we are starting with. They take place in Bali, and Crete. We also have a section called heart. This is a content area of the site but it will be about your sole and spirit and offer information and education about different spiritual beliefs across the planet. We are not supporting any one belief system.

This segues into what our customers want. We will sell stuff on heart too. Anything from a $2 pack of incense to a $10,000 painting done by a leader of particular belief system in India.

This summer will launch two additional business units-books (which will be very niche specific to the interest of our customers) and clothing. We will feature organic clothing made with natural and organic fibers.

This is something our customer base is interested in and it is one of the fastest growing areas in the apparel industry. He says the Internets of doing it, that the time is now.

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