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Portland, Oregon-based New Seasons Market announced yesterday that it has acquired Northern California-based New Leaf Community Markets, an eight store chain that describes itself using "the power of business to solve social and environmental problems," much like New Seasons. Both companies "give back to the community by donating 10 percent of their after tax profits to nonprofits in the communities and neighborhoods they serve."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

NewSeasons president/CEO Wendy Collie will lead both companies, and New Leaf will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of New Seasons. New Leaf founder Scott Roseman will join the NewSeasons board of directors. According to the announcement, the companies have agreed on "an operating model that ensures each community-focused store makes local operating decisions and serves as a resource and partner to the customers, vendors and staff they serve."

"Joining with New Leaf will advance both companies’ missions and values, and creates smart scale on our own terms,” Collie said. "We see combining with this like-minded … grocer as a way to grow thoughtfully and sustainably … Together, we can leverage the power of good, share best practices and strengthen our positions as independent natural grocers."

And, Collie tells the Oregonian: "For us it's really less a out the cost savings and more about the partnership we want to create in this incredibly competitive industry we're in that's being more and more dominated by big players."
KC's View:
The Oregonian also notes that "New Seasons had grown slowly but steadily since its founding in 2000. But that growth accelerated after Portland venture capital firm Endeavour Capital took a majority stake in the company in 2009. It opened its 13th store this year, employs 2,700 and plans to open three more stores by spring of 2015."

Endeavour, it should be noted, has built an interesting portfolio of investments in independent West Coast food retailers - NewSeasons, Metropolitan Markets, Bristol Farms and now, through the acquisition by New Seasons, New Leaf. It is an intriguing model - and while they all are different, I have to say that the three that I've spent time in (I haven't been into a New Leaf store - yet) are among my favorite retailers. And when I live in Portland, Oregon, each summer, one of the pleasures is being able to be a New Seasons customer.