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Natural products retail operations veteran John Varsames has joined Boulder, Colo.-based Alfalfa’s as its new VP of operations. Having previously held senior operations roles at Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats Markets, Varsames’ wealth of experience will be advantageous as Alfalfa’s readies to open its second store in the Centennial State.
“We are happy to have someone with John’s industry knowledge and operations experience at Alfalfa’s,” said Mark Retzloff, Alfalfa’s president/CEO. “As we gear up to open our second location in Louisville, Colo., next year, and lay the groundwork for future new Alfalfa’s stores seeding the Front Range of Colorado, John’s expertise will be a critical part of our growth and success.”
Varsames joins Alfalfa’s from Whole Foods Market, where he was a member of the Rocky Mountain Leadership team for eight years. In that capacity, he served in several key operations roles, including store team leader at a variety of stores, and had a successful track record of optimizing performance of various store formats and sizes. Most recently, Varsames led successful transformations of acquired stores in Boulder and Golden, Colo., and served as a mentor, developing and coaching many of the company’s operations leaders.
‘Perfect blend of knowledge and expertise’
Prior to joining Whole Foods Market, Varsames created an independently owned natural foods store, Blue Sky Market. He had also spent nine years with Wild Oats Markets, where he held several management positions, including regional foodservice director, director of store development and senior director of new stores and operations. Prior to his career in the natural foods industry, Varsames worked in food management for Hyatt Hotels and Village Inn Restaurants.
“John’s experience in food service, retail operations and new store development provide the perfect blend of knowledge and expertise to help Alfalfa’s achieve our new store growth objectives,” said Retzloff. “We are excited about the possibilities and about bringing our high product standards, passion for natural and organic, and commitment to community to more neighborhoods along the Front Range of Colorado.”
Founded in Boulder in 1983, Alfalfa’s Market grew to include 11 stores and was acquired by Wild Oats Markets in 1996. In 2011, Mark Retzloff, an original Alfalfa’s founder, along with Barney Feinblum, Hugo van Seenus and Jimmy Searcy, resurrected the Alfalfa’s name with the reopening of the original Alfalfa’s at Broadway and Arapahoe in Boulder.