Wild Oats is a popular store in Portland. With a variety of locations and catering to the trendy eating habits of the middle-class left, the chain has grown far from its start in Boulder CO. Up to now, the chain has incorporated local products into its stores. Now, the word on the street is that that is about to change.
First, they downsized their pick-up crews. The people who drove the trucks to pick up the local goods were suddenly out of their jobs. For many this came as a big suprise. Many had been doing the job for more than a decade and had house mortgages and such resting on their income. This has been happening incrementally since Natures was bought out by the chain. Along with slowly fazing out contracts with local manufacturers, growers, and producers, Wild Oats also apparently has a fierce animosity for competition- it dropped one local organic produce distibuter's contract after learning that the distributer also sold goods to a local health food chain.
Now, Wild Oats is making it impossible for small local businesses to participate in the chain's distribution by demanding that products carry millions of dollars in insurance, that manufactueres deliver their goods to the stores, etc. It is all done in the coporate model of centralization. It is making its "health food" into an economy of scale: the more centralized and mass produced the product, the cheaper the production, and the cheaper the production, the larger the the profit margin. The larger the profit margin- the larger the chain.