New Leaf changes hands
New Leaf Community Markets has merged with a holding company. Grocery officials say customers should see no change. Review file photo

New Leaf Community Markets, including the Half Moon Bay outlet, are merging with a holding company come January 2020.

Good Food Holdings is a subsidiary of Emart, the largest retailer in South Korea, which has led some on social media to worry this will bring changes to the grocer’s values or operations.

A New Leaf Community Markets’ release assures shoppers the company will be allowed to continue operating independently and maintain its mission and values, including its commitment to supporting local and regional agriculture as well as Coastside nonprofits.

Forrest Hoffmaster will remain the CEO after the merger, and, according to the news release, New Leaf Community Markets, which have existed for more than 30 years, will continue to exist on California’s Central Coast.

“We are proud to join Good Food Holdings with a shared commitment to building community through good food,” said Hoffmaster in a prepared statement. “This partnership with Good Food Holdings ensures our longevity as a community cornerstone.”

The grocer will also maintain its Certified B Corporation status, according to the release. As a result, the company then is responsible for considering the environmental, community and public impacts of its operations. On New Leaf Community Markets’ website, it says this is accomplished through donating 10 percent of net profits, using “progressive and sustainable practices” and providing generous staff benefits.

“It was important to us that a new partner in the business understand the company’s ongoing commitment to its mission, values and broad engagement with employees, customers, vendors and communities,” said Stephen Babson, managing director of the current owner, Endeavour Capital. “Good Food Holdings is the right partner to support and continue this legacy.”

The sale price has not been disclosed.

“We are thrilled to welcome New Seasons Market and New Leaf Community Markets to our family of brands,” said Matt Turnbull, managing director of Good Food Holdings in a prepared statement. “We’ve long admired New Seasons and New Leaf as industry innovators, and look forward to partnering with their

local leadership teams to deliver the best experience for customers, staff and the community.”

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