Amazon Is Buying Whole Foods-Why Should I Care?

Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods is making small businesses think twice about their plans for the future.



I shop at a small, local natural food store in Kinston weekly. I’ve seen the store go from one location, to two locations, eventually closing down one of them, then recently tell me they are thinking of moving to a new location altogether, (within ENC-land.) But last week, she sang a different tune. Her concern…what will Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods do to her business?

This small local store was fully prepared to compete with Lidl as they open new stores in our markets. She was watching and preparing to compete with Aldi and Publix as they open new locations. And she felt pretty comfortable that any changes Kroger might make with Harris Teeter would be ones she could deal with. And the closest Whole Foods was located in Raleigh, so they were not in the picture (literally.) But Amazon is now a whole new ball game. In short, the business owner confided in me that she does not really know how to compete against this new competition. She is actually contemplating whether it’s worth it to try, and her plans to relocate are either off the table completely, or delayed considerably. What was a national story that many of us feel does not have real local implications, became the most pressing issue on this one local business owner’s mind.

This store owner no longer will be competing against big boxes, she will soon be competing against the convenience of seemingly immediate availability, door-to-door delivery, and a significant inventory. And when it comes to customer service, you may not necessarily be an Amazon fan, but to be honest they have gone to great lengths to lower the barrier, and Amazon annually ranks very high in customer service ratings.

What does this mean to me? Well, we can’t stop Amazon from being…well…Amazon. But we can help local businesses be more immediate with customers. We can help them connect with customers more intimately. We can show local businesses, many of whom have thought they may be immune to digital disruption due to their “local service focus” how they can become more digitally focused themselves.

Propel, now ThriveHive, is a Premier Google SMB Partner. That’s GOOGLE, got it? All of us have passed Google Digital Sales Certification, and will soon pass the Google Analytics for Beginners training. Some of us are even Google AdWord Certified. These are not casual achievements. They fully prepare us to help local businesses be more immediate to their customers, be closer to them through constant digital engagement, and to solidify a relationship that might be at risk as new competition comes to our markets and our lifestyles.

These are things to remember as these types of discussions arise with local businesses in our markets. We are in a position to be their #1 marketing resource now, and moving forward. And the new ThriveHive brand will help set us apart even more for the future.

For more about Amazon’s recent purchase of Whole Foods and how it impacts local businesses, check out

A Note To All About This Blog

MOM has changed. MOM’s do sometimes, that’s a good thing right? The new blog format means that you can subscribe to MOM and get updates sent to you as they occur. You can be notified of the updates, when they happen, and still MOM is on all devices.

Two more things about the new MOM.

The menu in the upper right includes tabs that will maintain static pages. We will keep updating the inforamtion on these pages as we go, but you should be able to find links, names, and phone numbers that you need on a regular basis. You can use this kind of like your own in-house directory.

Because this is a blog, you can comment. You can discuss things, you have the right to offer your feedback and ask for more information on anything you see, or don’t see. MOM will continue to give you basically, what you are going to need for the whole week to succeed. But now you can give back. Let MOM know what is going on. We can start a regular discussion. If you want to see something more about a part of our business, just ask. We have several individuals now contribuitng to MOM, so responses will have several perspectives. This is your MOM, at least at work that is.

Effective immediately, Propel Marketing has changed it’s name to ThriveHive.

The new name, and brand, ThriveHive will help better position our digital arm as a unique player in the digital marketing space. (The Propel brand was duplicated in several industries.) This new brand conveys our blend of an easy-to-use marketing software platform, with turn-key advertising services. This shift to ThriveHive better fits the primary goal: helping you succeed online.

Every piece of Propel Marketing collateral has either been changed, or is in the process of being changed. FYI, all new IO’s are already changed, new ThriveHive IO’s can be downloaded from the Gatehouse Media Portal. Already the sales collateral that is available from Gatehouse reflects the new brand. This is an exciting move, and a great opportunity to speak to all local businesses about the new services we offer. Combining that with our own local expertise, (ThriveHive is a Google SMB Partner and our entire sales team has passed the Google Digital Sales certification), all local businesses can place their trust in our brand and our expertise.

Be prepared, there is always more to come. As Gatehouse and ThriveHive invest in new technology and refine their offerings, we will continue to stay one step ahead in this fast changing, multi-screen world, so we can deliver results for our local customers. 

You will start to see ThriveHive promotion in all of our media immediately. ENC Media Group will be sending direct mail announcements to our entire B2B database this week. Business cards will be re-issued as soon as we can accommodate.

Please make sure you download THE LATEST sales collateral from the Gatehouse Media portal immediately. 


ENC Medical

ENC Medical deadlines on Friday, June 30 with all final creative and ad copy due July 14. This is a great opportunity to start long term discussions with local businesses that are using more and more digital tools.

ENC Athlete of the Week

This is one of the largest sponsorships we’ve brought to market, and one that many local customers will want to hear more about. Check out details under Sponsorships in this week’s edition of MOM.


IMPORTANT Sticky Notes

  • Please remember that the back of the sticky note can only be ONE color  ( text is best and only a small logo.) We have been getting a lot of push back from our provider about this and they have been fixing it on their end. However, we now need to send it to them already finished.
    • Please remember when creating in ATOL that you ask for the text to be only one color; you may ask them to gray scale the back side if the logo has has color in it.  Going forward if the finished creative does not conform to these specifications, it will be sent back to you to be created correctly AGAIN. This will delay everything for the customer and for other customers that are in the queue. Please ask if you want assistance with this. 
  • Josh Walton is on vacation the week of July 4th, so we have other’s chipping in. Please be patient during that time.  Mostly, Becky and Tina will be filling in for Josh while he is out,  we will handle all the work as fast as we can during this time.  Thanks for your cooperation!
  • REMINDER:  ENC Medical forms need to be sent to Tina and all ad copy and articles are to be final by 5pm on Friday July 14th


Think promotions are too expensive?

Think again… co-op is more attainable than you may think. Need ideas to start? Look at AdMall or Gatehouse’s Co-Op Spreadsheet

Have A Prospect?

Alissa’s schedule

This is flexible in regards to meeting with clients):

  • Monday – New Bern
  • Tuesday – Jacksonville
  • Wednesday – New Bern
  • Thursday – Kinston
  • Friday – New Bern

**Always available via email or mobile to discuss any possibilities.

Athlete of the Week

This big sponsorship applies to businesses that:

  • Want/Like to Be/Already are highly involved in the community
  • Audience of families, high school students, athletes
  • Does not currently run with us, is sporadic with advertising, or has potential for a large campaign

Sponsorship includes:

  • Exclusivity
  • Reaching a huge audience through digital and print
  • Logo and recognition on all items associated with AOW
  • Customize marketing campaign (to be used at the discretion of the advertiser)
  • Target their ideal audience

This is a major campaign and is not meant for smaller accounts that have the capacity to spend less than $2k per month.

In the comments below – Name a prospect you may have for this sponsorship (if you have discussed it with Alissa – try and name another one not discussed)


Google Analytics for Beginners-Required for All Sales Personnel and Managers

ThriveHive/Propel Marketing is offering a series of four weekly sessions to review the 4 units of the Google Analytics for Beginners self paced course at 1 pm Eastern / 10 am Pacific on Thursdays in July. (July 6, 13, 20, 27).  GateHouse and ThriveHive sales leaders, sales managers, and salespeople are required to complete all four Units by Labor Day (September 4th).

Participants are asked to complete the Unit of the Week and the corresponding short Assessment before each live session. If you do not achieve the minimum score you can retake it after 7 days.  In the live virtual classrooms we’ll review the Unit of the week, clarify questions from the Assessment and a member of the Analytics Team will join us to provide more insights to your inquiries.

After completing all four Units you will have successfully completed the Google Analytics for Beginners Course and you can download your certificate. When you pass the Beginner’s course you can opt to continue to take the Advanced Analytics Course.  Once you pass both courses – you will receive a more formal Certification that you have passed the Google Analytics Exam.

Here’s the link for more information. Remember, all sales personnel are required to pass this by Labor Day! Feel free to ask questions, and good luck.

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