Over 20 years ago I opened GreenAcres in Wichita with the hopes of spreading alternative health education to my community, along with providing fresh, high quality organic and natural foods and supplements so people could improve their health. I had been on my own journey looking for solutions for my health challenges, and found a whole new world awaited with healthier eating and alternative remedies. As a true entrepreneur I decided to make it our business as well as our mission. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with leading practitioners in the industry over the past 20 years not only as a patient but as a colleague – allowing us to bring speakers, events & educational opportunities to our customers in Wichita, Kansas City & Tulsa.
I knew I wasn’t alone on this journey – not only are my husband John and daughter Shannon involved, but Matt our partner & store manager has become a face for GreenAcres in the community and a go-to person for wellness information and solutions. In addition, my oldest daughter Shayne is my inspiration, as she is handicapped and we’ve been able to improve the quality of her life with what I’ve learned.
We also knew that Rene and her late husband Bill Shelton, the owners of Whole Foods Association and Health Food Centers also had that same dedication and mission for alternative health education. They were pioneers in the field long before I was. We have been respectful competitors and allies for education for many years.
So now we have come together as one. We are honored to bring forward what Rene and Bill built over the past 40 years and to incorporate their stores, their team and their customers into our GreenAcres family. We will all work together to continue our mission of education.
So to begin, we’d like to share with all of you our mission at GreenAcres as well as our vision not only to you, our new customers, but to remind our existing customers why we are here. We hope you all will join us in growing awareness for healthier solutions:
GreenAcres Market & Deli is your community Natural Foods Market committed to providing:
- Quality education
- Dedicated customer service
- Fresh, natural & organic products
- A unique shopping experience
In order to improve the health of our community one person at a time.
To create a world where all people make healthy lifestyle & environmentally friendly choices
We have some exciting new initiatives coming this next year and we encourage all of you to “connect” in – whether through social media, our newsletters, your neighbors, or talking with us in the stores. You will hear from us regularly so you can get to know the people behind the mission. It takes all of us to make a difference in the world and we are ready to lead that challenge!
All the best,
GreenAcres Markets & Deli
“Your Healthy Food Experts”
GreenAcres Market is a Local, Woman-Led, Family Owned Business
To say that GreenAcres founder and owner, Barb Hoffmann, is driven would be an understatement. This determination, combined with consequences of constant hard work, grew an offshoot of a previous business, into a woman-led, family-owned natural market. Today GreenAcres Market has grown to seven stores, located in three states, employing 185 people.
Barb has never been the kind of person to be idle. She started her career as secretary, working up in the position to become secretary to the President of United Beechcraft. She loved working and planned to continue in the position after marrying her sweetheart, John. But, starting a family changed her plans. With a toddler with special needs and an infant at home, Barb knew her secretarial days were behind her.
But she just couldn’t stay home. After doing research, Barb started a business doing plant parties every evening, while John remained with the girls. It wasn’t long before the business was so popular that she had to hire additional help.
To get all the plants she needed for the parties, she started growing them in her basement, saving every penny until she had enough to buy a little backyard greenhouse. In researching these small greenhouses, Barb discovered an opportunity to buy a much bigger building than she had envisioned. Realizing she could grow more plants to wholesale to other businesses, Barb took out a business loan and started growing, leading to the creation of Hoffman Greenhouse.
In no time, the greenhouse business grew beyond her wildest expectations. She found that she needed more help to keep the business going and asked her parents to join her. On his first day at work, Barb’s father, who was a retired salesperson, sold all the plants they had for sale on his first sales call.
They knew they needed more space to grow, so they looked around and found a 2-acre spot in Kechi. Soon they were selling to Dillon’s stores and other retailers, trucking plants to five states. Barb needed more help and convinced John to quit his engineering job to join the family business. In 1975, Barb started Tropical Designs, an interior landscaping company that sold the plants they grew.
Working so hard, and carrying the weight of these businesses, took a physical toll on Barb. The damage done to her back through so much heavy lifting required five surgeries, leaving her in extreme pain. Dr. Hugh Riordan at Riordan Clinic, took her on as a research patient, looking at alternative ways to deal with discomfort. Being ahead of his time, part of the treatment Dr. Riordan recommended included having a healthier diet. She started cooking more at home, preparing “weird” nutritious meals for her family, which nearly caused a mutiny.
Throughout her life, Barb has diligently sought answers to her questions and challenges, exploring all possible paths and studying the solutions until she understood what steps to take. She did the same with her health and became obsessed with finding solutions. Her studies took her to other places, traveling to find relief. On a flight back home, John turned to her and asked, “Why don’t you just start a health food store?” Without even thinking about it, Barb said, “Okay.”
Within six months of that fateful flight, she sold the production greenhouse, wrote a bullet-point business plan, and got the funding she needed to buy the land and build at the newly established Bradley Fair Shopping Center. She opened GreenAcres Market and Tropical Designs store next door to each other on the same day in the spring of 1994.
Barb found that nutrition was a crucial part of her recovery, giving her more energy to fight the pain. The more she learned, the more she wanted to help other people. It became her goal to teach the whole world what she had learned. To spread the message, Barb partnered with her daughter, Shannon, to produce and record “Health Talk,” a syndicated radio show that reached over 50 radio stations across the United States and featured many national specialists on nutrition, health, and wellness.
Wanting to open more stores like GreenAcres, Barb and Shannon met with an investor to talk about expansion. With the internet starting to open up to online sales, the investor convinced her to build a 10,000-page website to sell nutritional supplements to consumers. While working with a website development company on her site, they took the opportunity to buy that business to help other stores with eCommerce websites.
Realizing that they were stretching themselves too thin, Barb sold the business and returned to the original vision of opening more stores. Wanting to open a store in Kansas City, Shannon took the lead to build and open their second store and deli at the Village at Briarcliff in Kansas City, Missouri, in 2008.
Wanting to open more stores in the Wichita area, Barb reached out to the owners of a local health food chain, Whole Foods Association and Health Food Centers. It was a natural fit. Owners Rene and Bill Shelton were respected pioneers in the health food store business, with a dedication to teaching people about healthy alternatives.
After years of being patiently persistent in offering to buy the businesses, Barb acquired these five stores in 2013. The three stores in Wichita and two stores in Oklahoma were enlarged and remodeled to match the other GreenAcres stores and strategies put in place to blend the stores’ cultures slowly. Knowing they needed more help, long-time employee and manager of the Bradley Fair store, Matt Murray, became a partner in the business, helping manage some of the day-to-day operations of running a busy natural market.