John P. Mackey co-founder of the Company, has served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer since 1980. Mr. Mackey also served as President from June 2001 to October 2004. After dropping out of three Texas colleges in the '70s, he moved into a vegetarian co-op where he focused on reading philosophy, cooking natural foods and being outdoors. Living in the co-op awakened his food consciousness and set the stage for what would eventually become Whole Foods. In 1978, Mackey and his then girlfriend opened Safer Way, a vegetarian health food store, with an initial investment of $45,000 borrowed from friends and family. Neither had any business training and the store suffered financially while they learned the ropes of running a business. Realizing growth was necessary, Mackey secured an investment and persuaded the owner of a small natural foods store to merge with him. The business opened in 1980 in Austin, Texas, as Whole Foods Natural Market. In 1992, with 12 stores and $92 million in sales, Whole Foods went public on Nasdaq.