Alfalfa’s Market to be resurrected on Earth Day

Retzloff leads team bringing back a Boulder landmark

| Apr 8, 2011

By Sustainable Food News
Reposted with permission

Alfalfa’s Market, Inc., the first organic and natural foods supermarket in the Boulder, Colo., area, said Thursday, March 7, that it will officially open its doors on Earth Day, Friday, April 22, at the same address where it opened 32 years ago.

Founded as Pearl Street Market in 1979, the store on the corner of Broadway at Arapahoe was renamed Alfalfa’s Market in 1983, and grew to be one of the nation’s leading natural products retail chains over the next two decades with 11 stores. Alfalfa’s was acquired by Wild Oats Markets in 1996.

In 2007, the Federal Trade Commission challenged Whole Foods’ acquisition of Wild Oats over antitrust concerns, eventually ordering Whole Foods to divest certain Wild Oats stores and intellectual property associated with the Wild Oats and Alfalfa’s Market brands.

Last June, Mark Retzloff, co-founder and chairman of Aurora Organic Dairy, the nation’s largest producer of private label organic milk, was granted approval by the FTC to buy the Whole Foods store that had taken over the site at the corner of Broadway at Arapahoe and re-open it as Alfalfa’s Market.

Retzloff was the co-founder and CEO of Alfalfa’s from 1983 to when it was sold in 1996. Other owners of the new company include: Barney Feinblum, Hugo van Seenus and Jimmy Searcy.

“Since we received the approval to purchase this store last June, we’ve been working hard to bring the people of Boulder the best the world has to offer in organic and natural foods,” said Retzloff, co-founder and chairman of Alfalfa’s. “We’ve completely remodeled the store and have hired an all-star team of nearly 200 staff. We can’t wait to open our doors to the public on Earth Day, which is a symbolic day considering Alfalfa’s history and commitment to sustainable agriculture.”

Alfalfa’s key management includes:

  • Norm Everhart, Vice President of Store Development & Construction, is a seasoned pro who brings 30
    years of experience building and designing retail spaces to Alfalfa’s. Norm held senior management-level positions in store design and facilities management at Haggen, SuperValu and Mrs. Gooch’s Natural Food Markets.
  • Paul Gingerich, Director of Meat & Seafood, started his career with Alfalfa’s in the early days when they made news by becoming one of the first stores to incorporate meat departments into what had traditionally been vegetarian “health food” stores in the 1980s. Paul, a foremost expert on all-natural meat and seafood, worked up through the stores and became Vice President of Meat & Seafood at Wild Oats Markets, and then went on to run the meat business for Albert’s Organics before coming home to Alfalfa’s.
  • Dale Kamibayashi, Director of Purchasing, was the original store director at this Alfalfa’s location in 1983. He stayed on with Alfalfa’s through the Wild Oats merger and, after leaving Wild Oats in 1999, worked for several leading natural and organic foods companies, including Small Planet Foods, Rapunzel and Ceres Organics.
  • Stacee McGovern, Director of Marketing, started her 15-year natural foods retail career at Wild Oats. She has since held marketing positions at leading food retail brands, including Noodles & Company and Whole Foods Market.
  • Tim Overlie, Store Director, has spent more than 30 years in the natural, organic and specialty foods retail industry. He started with Alfalfa’s in 1983 at the Broadway and Arapahoe store, and continued his career in key operations and buying positions at Wild Oats. Most recently, he was CEO of Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy.
  • JP Patrick, Director of Culinary Services, manages the prepared foods, bakery, coffee and juice bar departments. He comes to Alfalfa’s with more than 15 years of culinary and product development experience. JP is an award-winning chef who has served as director of culinary research and development for leading food service companies, including Udi’s Handcrafted Foods, Noodles & Company, American Blue Ribbon Holdings and Yoshida Foods.

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