Alfalfa’s Hires Natural Products Retail Veteran in Top Operations Role

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John Varsames, VP of Operations, brings 25 years of retail and restaurant management experience to help Alfalfa’s achieve its new store growth plans. 

BOULDER, Colo. (Dec. 17, 2013) – Alfalfa’s, a Boulder, Colo. owned and operated natural and organic market, announced today that natural products retail operations veteran, John Varsames, has been named Vice President of Operations. Varsames brings 25 years of retail operations experience to Alfalfa’s, and has held senior operations roles at leading natural products retailers, including Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats Markets. 

“We are happy to have someone with John’s industry knowledge and operations experience at Alfalfa’s,” said Mark Retzloff, President and CEO of Alfalfa’s. “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 brings significant food retail and restaurant operations experience to the Alfalfa’s leadership team. His 25 years of experience includes extensive work in opening new stores, building and developing empowered teams, and driving successful financial performance. He comes to 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. 

Prior to joining Whole Foods Market, Varsames created an independently owned natural foods store, Blue Sky Market. In his nine years with Wild Oats Markets, he held several management positions, including regional food service director, director of new store development and senior director of new stores and operational procedures. In this capacity, he oversaw nearly all aspects of new store openings, including facility design, leasing, construction, implementation and operational efficiency. 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.” 

About Alfalfa’s

Founded in Boulder, Colorado in 1983, Alfalfa’s Market grew to be one of the nation’s leading-edge natural products retailers throughout the 1980s and 1990s. With 11 stores and an iconic reputation for being a community gathering place filled with an infectious passion for natural and organic foods, Alfalfa’s Market was acquired by Wild Oats Markets in 1996. In 2011 Mark Retzloff, an original Alfalfa’s founder, 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. The store is true to its roots as a Boulder-owned and operated natural foods market. For more information, please visit 

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