New Leaf Market opening here May 15 | April 12, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

Column - April 12, 2013

New Leaf Market opening here May 15

by Jeb Bing

When Scott Roseman and Rex Stewart open their 19,000-square-foot New Leaf Community Market next month they will bring their commitment to providing quality organic products to Pleasanton's Vintage Hills Shopping Center that they've been known for since 1985 in Santa Cruz. New Leaf, an independently owned grocer that features locally grown organic foods in its coastal city stores, will fill a store once occupied by Romley's Market that has been empty for the last 15 years.

The new store will be the anchor of the center, once a nearly abandoned development at the intersections of Bernal and Vineyard avenues and Tawny Drive that at one time some on the City Council wanted to tear down and allow apartment houses to be built there. Rejected in that effort, developer James Tong sold his interests in the site to Sim & Yoon LLC, who gradually upgraded the buildings and now have all but the space that a former dance studio occupied fully leased.

New Leaf is a different type of grocer for Pleasanton. Where most markets now sell organics, Roseman has long been a believer that produce, meats and dairy products that are free of pesticides, chemical fertilizers and hormones are healthier for his own family and his customers as well. He grew up with a strong faith in giving back to the community he's in and making it a better place to live. Making sure his stores sell only the healthiest products available is part of that goal.

Roseman and his partner seized an opportunity to buy a small grocery on the west side of Santa Cruz in 1985. Starting with 13 employees, the pair set two main objectives: provide a good work environment and find local farmers who grow organically. From Day One, Roseman paid good wages, offered health care insurance to every employee, and in the first year started a profit-sharing plan for employees. His philosophy: "If I'm lucky enough to be successful, the people I'm working with deserve to share in that success."

His business plan worked. In 1990, the grocer moved from the small west side building into a 7,000-square-foot store, which seemed large at the time, with customers starting to come from throughout the region to buy organic products that by now accounted for nearly 100% of his sales. His partner Stewart said it was like turning over a new leaf, both for the business and for its customers, and the name stuck.

Over the next few years, New Leaf opened more stores in Santa Cruz, Capitola, Half Moon Bay and San Jose. With 500 employees, it will add another 80-100 at the Vintage Hills store, which, like the others, will be open seven days a week.

Roseman and his wife Jasmine have four children. They've always insisted on a diet of natural foods. That wasn't easy in earlier years, but with the public increasingly concerned about consuming products possibly containing pesticide sprays, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics and hormones, organics are on more shopping lists. Although most grocers today carry organic products, New Leaf only buys from suppliers that guarantee their products are 100% natural in accordance with the Organic Foods Production Act, adopted in 1990.

Another commitment Roseman made when he opened his first store in Santa Cruz was to give 10% of its profits back to the community. From the start, his business contributed to nonprofits and other organizations in Santa Cruz and now in San Jose as well. When New Leaf opens at 10 a.m., Wednesday, May 15, in Pleasanton, Roseman, Stewart and the Pleasanton store manager Mark McKinney will be there to celebrate the grand opening and to announce the profit-sharing program here as well.


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