Sorry, Tim, we may usually agree on most things, but apparently not on Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFMI). This is a maverick company that has turned lack of convention into a sustainable competitive advantage. Its emphasis on community, health, and environment provides incredible word-of-mouth buzz that's more effective than high-priced marketing campaigns.

Furthermore, consider Whole Foods' "shared fate" initiative, which includes stock option grants and a cap on executive salaries. These elements differentiate it from conventional grocers such as Safeway (NYSE:SWY) and Albertsons (NYSE:ABS).

Whole Foods recently said that it seems to be expanding its customer demographic to "more average-type middle-class customers," as it moves out of "the fringe of society and more into the mainstream." If it's been doing so well on the fringe, just contemplate mainstream success.

Meanwhile, Whole Foods continues to fund expansion using its own cash flows. And by the way, Tim, Whole Foods has upped its revenue projection for 2010 because of its expansion plans in both new and existing markets, such as Canada, the U.K., and eventually throughout Europe, all of which -- one can only imagine -- would be fertile grounds for Whole Foods' wares.

The price for quality
Two quarters of Whole Foods missing analysts' expectations by a penny -- resulting in a little sour sentiment on the part of investors -- do not make Whole Foods an adequate comparison to Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS), or Four Seasons. That's comparing apples to oranges.

I'm well aware that Whole Foods is sometimes dubbed "Whole Paycheck." And while I know the power of deep discounts -- Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) is a case in point -- many people will pay a higher price for high-quality goods in a pleasant environment. That's another area where Whole Foods excels. If one made a parallel to Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), I'd argue the similarities aren't merely coincidental -- both companies are carving out a niche to serve as a "third place" for their customers, and both have defied the conventional wisdom that their goods are too pricey to fly with consumers.

Detractors have said for years that Starbucks was overvalued, yet it has continued to brew up consistent -- and downright astounding -- growth. Both companies are headed up by smart and savvy managers who know what their client base wants, treat their employees well, and have excelled because of their maverick qualities, including generating profits while retaining a socially responsible angle to their businesses.

With Whole Foods' double-digit growth rates expected far into the future, plenty of competitive advantages, and visionary management that's willing to experiment, I think investors' love affair with this company has only just begun. If you've ever wished you could find the next Starbucks, Tim, perhaps your search is over.

David Gardner recommended both Whole Foods Market and Electronic Arts to Motley Fool Stock Advisor subscribers. To find out what other companies David and his brother Tom have recommended, start up a free 30-day trial.

Think you're done with the Duel? You're not! Go back and read the other three arguments, and then vote for a winner.

Alyce Lomax owns shares of Starbucks, but of none of the other companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.