BOISE, Idaho — Two years ago, when Whole Foods announced that it wanted to expand to 1,000 stores from a little more than 300 and open in places where it was assumed that consumers had never heard of kale and wouldn’t dream of spending $6 for a pound of humanely raised pork, some investors scoffed. Its traditional grocery store competitors snickered at the strategy. And even those on Wall Street enamored with the chain’s success expressed doubts.
But cities like Boise, with its 212,000 residents, many of them college students and migrants from the cities where Whole Foods raised the bar on the grocery business, are embracing the company with an enthusiasm that has confounded the naysayers, propelled its stock price to heady highs, and surprised even its executives. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.