New Leaf’s Wild Roots in the Santa Cruz Mountains New name, new plans, still organic

RELATED STORY | A New Season for New Leaf

New Leaf’s Boulder Creek and Felton locations will soon be rebranded as Wild Roots. Look for the new name in April.

Kristi Locatelli, the Chief Operating Officer for the Felton and Boulder Creek grocery stores owned by her parents Bob and Terry Locatelli, says the decision to rebrand without the New Leaf identity was a year and a half in the making. After 24 years of franchise partnership, the stores, which have always been owned and operated independently from both New Leaf and New Seasons, will center their brand around what’s always made them distinct from their former parent companies: since 2000, the Felton and Boulder Creek locations have been certified organic, sold only organic produce and used only organic produce in deli items.

While the stores are still under the New Leaf name for a few more weeks, they don’t stock New Seasons branded items (which other New Leaf locations have begun to carry), because “it says New Seasons,” Kristi Locatelli says. The stores have always been rooted in the San Lorenzo Valley, she says, and she and her father look forward to ensuring that their profits stay focused within that community moving forward.

Locatelli says she understands some of the changes imposed by New Seasons, such as their points-based attendance system, but adds “it was not well-received.”

She describes the New Seasons model as a “crossover” with high-quality items on the perimeter and a blend of more conventional items in the center. In previous interviews, the Locatellis cited “big changes with New Seasons” among considerations for the departure.

While Locatelli has nothing but positive things to say about New Leaf, she says that New Seasons, while it has “nice stores” and is a “very well respected brand in Portland,” is simply “not the same kind of store as us.”

— Mara Reynolds

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Mara Reynolds

About Mara Reynolds

Mara Reynolds is a fourth-generation Santa Cruzan and a third-generation journalist currently living in Portland, Oregon, where she also works as an editor, artist, educator and herbalist.