What’s the connection between Boney’s, Henry’s, Sprouts, Frazier Farms, Whole Foods Market and Smart & Final?

Being 5 years new to the San Diego area, I heard rumors and tidbits, but never met anyone who could give me any definitive answers. So here is the timeline as best as I could piece it together:

1943: Henry and Jessie Boney start selling peaches at a fruit stand in La Mesa. The business later grows to include four more outlets with an expanded produce line.
1950: The first family store opens in Chula Vista. Henry Boney later sells the chain and founds Speedee Mart.
1964: Boney sells Speedee Mart to the company that operates the 7-Eleven chain.
1971: The first Frazier Farms store opened on Grand Avenue in Escondido.
1976: Son Steve Boney founds Windmill Farms. The family later sells 11 of the outlets and keeps three.
1978: Frazier Farms moves a short distance to a new location on Center City Parkway. The popular store eventually expanded to four locations.
1980: Brothers Stan and Scott Boney create a corporation named Boney & Boney, Inc., to operate a market in El Cajon, California, under the name “Windmill Farms.” They also create a partnership to operate a Windmill Farms market in Vista, California.  Stan and Scott later created Boney & Boney/Vista, Inc., and transferred to it the partnership’s interest in the Vista market.
Also in 1980, Whole Foods Market founded in Austin, Texas, by four local businesspeople who decided the natural foods industry was ready for a supermarket format. They were John Mackey and Renee Lawson Hardy, owners of Safer Way Natural Foods, and Craig Weller and Mark Skiles, owners of Clarksville Natural Grocery. At the time, there were less than half a dozen natural food supermarkets in the United States.
1982: Stan and Scott bought a market in Spring Valley, which they held through Boney & Boney, Inc., and operated as a “Windmill Farms” market.
1983: Stan and Scott decide to leave the Windmill Farms organization in order to have more quality and advertising control. They rename their three Windmill Farms markets as Boney’s MarketplaceMike Darr (the Boneys’ brother-in-law) and Farm Yard, Ltd., also rename Windmill Farms markets they own as Boney’s Marketplace. Stan and Scott enter into a written “cooperative advertising/operating agreement” authorizing Darr and Farm Yard to use the trade name Boney’s Marketplace and stating that Boney & Boney, Inc., owns all rights to the trade name. Stan and Scott continue to operate their three markets, maintaining the stores’ existing appearance, and to market foodstuffs and vitamins under the Boney’s Marketplace private label.
In that same year, Bill Frazier sells Frazier Farms in 1983 to Norman Frazier. Norman maintains the same standards for value along with a passion for food and regard for good health.
1985: Steve Boney opens a market in Pacific Beach.
In October, Stan and Scott (as Boney & Boney, Inc., and Boney & Boney/Vista, Inc.), Mike Darr, and Steve enter into a cooperative advertising agreement. This agreement contains the following provision:
All rights to use of the “Tradename” [Boney’s Marketplace] shall remain with Boney [Stan and Scott’s corporations], except that, Steve and Darr shall also have the right to use of the “Tradename” at locations that do not compete with any current or future locations of the Parties.  The right to the “Tradename” shall expire three calendar months after any of the parties sell their store(s) and/or stop contributing to the weekly advertising budget. Stan and Scott also retain the right to terminate any store’s right to use the trade name in response to delinquency or default in contributing to the advertising budget.
1986: Steve Boney opens another market in Escondido. Steve operates both of these markets under the name Boney’s Marketplace. Steve sells the Pacific Beach store in September, and in October, incorporates the Escondido store as Stephen W. Boney, Inc. (SWB)
: Stan and Scott restructure their corporate entities. Boney & Boney, Inc., sells the right to the trade name Boney’s Marketplace, including existing licensing agreements regarding that name, to a limited partnership called Boney’s Services, Ltd. Boney’s Services, Ltd., then enter into licensing agreements with Mike Darr (president of the El Cajon store) and Norman Frazier (president of the Vista store), granting them non-exclusive licenses to use the trade name Boney’s Marketplace.
1989: Steve opens a store in Denver, Colorado, to which he shipped goods bearing the Boney’s Marketplace trademark. He subsequently sells the Denver store. Steve has continuously owned and operated the Escondido store since 1986. He sells goods at that store bearing the Boney’s Marketplace trademark, including specialty breads baked from trade secret recipes.
1989 – 1994: Events that transpired between 1989 and 1994 are somewhat unclear. Immediately before and immediately after Stan and Scott’s 1988 corporate restructuring, four Boney’s Marketplace stores were associated with Stan and Scott and used the trade name with Stan and Scott’s permission. Steve owned and operated the Escondido store. Boney’s Services, Ltd., merged with Boney’s Services, Inc. (BSI)Steve, through SWB, opened two new stores in the San Diego area. Stan and Scott and their associates opened several new stores. Relations between Steve and his brothers deteriorated;  their conflict focused on their respective rights to the Boney’s Marketplace name.
1996: After that family rift*, the Boneys change the store names to Henry’s Marketplace.
1999: Boney Family sells 12 Henry’s Markets to Wild Oats Markets, Inc. and signs non-compete agreement. The Henry’s family includes 23 stores in Southern California. Henry’s in El Cajon continues to operate as a licensed store, owned by Mike and Darlene (Boney) Darr.
2001: A non-compete agreement between the Boneys and Wild Oats expires.
2002: Stan Boney and his grandson, Shon Boney, start a new health food venture in Phoenix called Sprouts in Chandler, Ariz. The company has since opened 19 additional units, and now operates 15 stores in Arizona, plus two in Texas.
2004Henry’s in El Cajon and Vista reunite with the Boney family and are renamed Sprouts Farmers Market.
2006: The Frazier family proudly returns the name of the Vista location to Frazier Farms and continues their family legacy of bringing value to the community with the highest possible quality at competitive prices.
2007: Wild Oats is acquired by Whole Foods Market following a highly debated merger in August.
In October, Whole Foods Market completes the sale of all 35 Henry’s Farmers Market and Sun Harvest Market stores to a subsidiary of Los Angeles grocer Smart & Final Inc. for $166 million. Smart & Final in turn was acquired by the private equity firm Apollo Management earlier in 2007.

* Steve Boney (Stephen W. Boney, Inc. aka SWB) sued his brothers Stan and Scott Boney (Boney Services, Inc. aka BSI) for trademark, trade name, and trade dress infringement. The district court granted summary judgment to BSI, finding that Stan and Scott had continuously used and controlled the name “Boney’s Marketplace” since 1983 and therefore had priority over SWB’s use of the name. The district court subsequently denied BSI’s motion for attorney’s fees and reconsideration. BSI appeals the denial of attorney’s fees;  SWB cross-appeals the summary judgment entered against him. The district court having jurisdiction affirmed in part and reversed in part.

Works Cited

McMahon, Shannon. (2004, December 30). Boneys take root again in county. San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved July 22, 2010 from http://www.signonsandiego.com

Stephen Boney, Inc. v. Boney Services, Inc. (1997). Retrieved July 22, 2010 from Findlaw databases.

Tanner, Ron. (no date available). Sprouts Farmers Market. Specialty Food Magazine. Retrieved July 22, 2010 from http://www.signonsandiego.com/

36 Responses

  1. thought this might interest you I found your article fascinating

    • Thanks for the link! It would be interesting to see if Whole Foods tries to swallow up Henry’s after a while. Whole Foods can be pricey, but they might try to be competitive for a while until they can acquire Henry’s. I believe WF does have the advantage in purchasing power.

  2. Wow, this was very interesting to me. I grew up in Escondido, and that Frazier Farms store was a big part of my life. Later I worked at Boney’s, when the Boney family mafia was still firmly in control. Only to slip back in stealth mode with Sprouts! Mwuahaha! And Henry’s is really as soulless and corporate as I suspected. Thank God we still have real locally owned and run stores like Jimbo’s, O.B. People’s Food, Cream Of The Crop in OC. Even Whole Foods, still run by the same guy, they have some consistent values.

  3. Thank you for any other great post. Where else could anyone get that kind of info in such a perfect means of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I’m at the search for such info.

  4. Jessie is a friend of mine, and now I can see why she doesn’t talk about the stores now a days. I have not asked her about the modern state of fair of the business. But she loves to talk about the good old days. She is a very sweet lady. And she still looks after Her’s and Henry’s legacy.

    • Thank you for sharing that Mike! I love hearing from people and historical background on locals’ favorites, or better yet, local “institutions.” Unfortunately, I’ve been laid off, living with family, and currently looking for employment that takes me back to San Diego. Until then, I’ll continue to travel down every few weeks to volunteer for charity events with friends. Thank you again Mike, and wish me luck (or let me know of any job leads)! 😉

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  23. The first Frazier Farms opened in La Jolla, the gentleman who began it worked for the Escondido Boney’s in his youth.

  24. I live in Nevada and somehow got it in my head to perhaps revisit El Cajon after having had a girlfriend there for a very brief time in the mid-1980s.

    I have no idea where the apartments are where she lived and my memories of El Cajon are very vague, but the one place I remember is Boney’s Marketplace. I thought if I could find it, it would make a good ground zero point from which to venture out and try to re-familiarize myself with the past. Anyway, I struck gold with this blog entry and reading it has been utterly fascinating.

    Just thought I’d post since my reason for being interested in this is undoubtedly quite unique. Thanks for the incredible writeup.

    • Hi Bill, it’s funny how the internet can take us to so many fascinating electronic back alleys that we have enjoyed, and never would have found otherwise! I’m glad you found my post interesting, and wish you the best of luck in your quest! I hope you bookmarked or subscribe to read future posts!

  25. I worked at the Frazier Farms in Pacific Beach, but as Pamela has stated, I don’t remember a store in La Jolla. The PB store (at the end of Felspar…right around the corner from Bernies) had a small restaurant called the Sunseed where we made sandwiches, smoothies and 4 alarm chilly. The store manager was John Bishop. This had to be ’77-78 if memory serves… I ran into John on a surfing junket to SD in ’09. We talked story about the old days and he still lives in the area to my knowledge…

    • Nowhere in the article is there mention of a store in La Jolla. I hope no one is confusing comments about this article with anything written here.

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