New Leaf Community Markets, the local chain of eight grocery stores, is — as of Tuesday, Nov. 12 — a wholly owned subsidiary of New Seasons Market, a Portland, Ore.-based grocer.
The change in the names on the deeds are not likely to result in major changes to local stores, however, as the chain's founders and former co-owners Rex Stewart and Scott Roseman will still head the company — just as a subsidiary now.
The change in New Leaf's ownership is likely to mean even fewer changes for the Felton and Boulder Creek locations, as both of those are independently owned and operated by the Locatelli family, who have a licensing agreement to use the New Leaf name.
“It's a non-event,” said Bob Locatelli, who has operated the Felton New Leaf since he converted the former Roy's Market some 19 years ago, and the Boulder Creek location since the late 1990s. “We redid the licensing agreement with the new ownership and it was essentially the same — we're still locally owned and operated.”
He said that when the deal with New Seasons became official, Stewart and Roseman made every effort to keep him apprised of the situation and arranged meetings between Locatelli and the brass of the new parent company.
“They're really nice people, they have a lot of the same values and ideals,” he said. “It looks like a nice match and I look forward to working with them.”
Locatelli said that the change in the chain's ownership would not affect customers' experience in the stores, and that no one's job was in danger.
“The name is going to stay the same and the employees are, too,” he said. “(New Seasons) recognized how well-thought-of the New Leaf brand name is in our marketplace and they wanted to retain that.”
One change is that New Leaf withdrew from the Shop Local First campaign in Santa Cruz, because the main company is no longer locally owned.