February 6, 2018 – Portland-based New Seasons Market—parent company of New Leaf Community Markets in Santa Cruz—is shifting direction and C.E.O. Wendy Collie has stepped down.
The natural foods chain had been in a phase of rapid expansion, but announced today that a new store in Sunnyvale would close at the end of February and stores planned for Carmel, San Francisco and Emeryville would not be built. The company said, however, the Aptos New Leaf Market set to open this fall would go ahead as planned.
Collie described the shift in strategy as getting back to the roots of the company. “Today’s disruptive retail landscape has inspired many companies such as ours to reevaluate their organizational structure and strategy. The board and I have made the decision to redirect resources to support our core business, fund improvements for existing stores and invest in developing programs and services that will best meet the changing needs of our customers and communities,” she was quoted as saying in a news release issued by New Seasons.
She will be replaced by two co-presidents—Kristi McFarland, Chief People Officer, and Forrest Hoffmaster, Chief Financial Officer—a structure intended to strengthen and re-focus the New Seasons brand in the Pacific Northwest and the New Leaf brand on the Central Coast of California.
Collie joined New Seasons in 2012 and oversaw the acquisition of New Leaf Community Markets from founder Scott Roseman in 2013. She expanded the grocery chain from 12 markets in the Portland area to 25 markets in California, Oregon and Washington.
The Carmel New Seasons store was announced in 2016 and was to be the anchor tenant in the new Rancho Rio shopping center planned for the corner of Rio Rd. and Crossroads Blvd., being built by Foothill Partners. A call to the developer for comment was not returned by presstime.