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Alfalfa's names Varsames COO

Alfalfa’s, a Boulder, Colo.-based natural and organic products retailer, on Monday announced the promotion of two key management staff, and the appointment of natural and organic food retailing veteran Paul McLean to the newly created position of VP of purchasing, marketing and merchandising.

John Varsames was named COO and Lisa Fallon was promoted to VP of finance and administration.

As COO, Varsames will lead all store operations and new store development activities. Varsames has been with Alfalfa’s for more than a year, and most recently served as VP of operations. Board member James Searcy continues his role as interim CEO. Searcy succeeded Mark Retzloff who resigned as CEO last month.

John Varsames
John Varsames

“John has proven to be a strong operations professional with an ability to inspire and lead our staff,” Searcy said in a statement. “His deep operations experience with some of the biggest names in natural foods retail, and significant contributions over the last year with Alfalfa’s, have earned him our top spot in store operations and development.”

Varsames’ more than 25 years of experience in food retail and restaurant operations includes extensive work in new store development, building and developing empowered teams, and driving successful financial performance. Prior to joining Alfalfa’s, he was a member of the Rocky Mountain Leadership team for Whole Foods Market, where he spent eight years in several key operations roles. Most recently, he 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, he opened and operated an independent natural food store, and held several operations management positions at Wild Oats Markets.

McLean has been hired to lead all purchasing, marketing and merchandising activities for Alfalfa’s, and will report to Varsames. He brings extensive knowledge and expertise from more than 25 years’ experience in the food retail industry. Since 2000, McLean has served in a variety of management roles with Whole Foods Market, and most recently was regional VP of purchasing for the Northeast region. Prior to joining Whole Foods, he spent 10 years in operations, purchasing and merchandising roles with Wild Oats Markets, and started with Alfalfa’s in 1990 before the chain merged with Wild Oats.

Lisa Fallon
Lisa Fallon

Fallon was hired as corporate controller in August of 2013. Prior to joining Alfalfa’s, she served in various financial leadership and consulting roles managing budgeting, financial planning and reporting, and shareholder relations for a variety of companies, including Wild Oats Markets, Aurora Organic Dairy and Circadence Corp.

“We are very proud of the talented team we have assembled here at Alfalfa’s,” Varsames said. “I have enjoyed working in this passionate, entrepreneurial culture over the last year, and look forward to working with Paul, Lisa and the rest of the Alfalfa’s family to bring our communities the best quality products, strong value and above-and-beyond customer service.”

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