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Fresh Fields Co-founder to Get Helm at Earth Fare

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Fresh Fields co-founder Jack Murphy is taking over as c.e.o. and president of fast-growing regional natural foods grocer Earth Fare here, following the resignation late last week of Michael Cianciarulo.

The company said in a statement that Cianciarulo would stay on the Earth Fare board, “pursuant to his personal goals.”

When Cianciarulo joined Earth Fare a decade ago, the company consisted of two stores, one in Asheville, and one in Charleston, S.C. Since that time, Earth Fare has grown to 13 units in three states, with more than $100 million in annual sales and stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee.

The company said it plans to open several more stores in 2008.

Murphy most recently was a key board member at Earth Fare. Prior to joining the board, he held the positions of c.e.o., and c.o.o. for several other growing businesses, including Fresh Fields Natural Grocery stores in the Northeast, which he co-founded. Fresh Fields grew quickly from its start in 1992, before being sold to Whole Foods Markets.

In other Earth Fare news, the Humane Society of the United States said yesterday that the chain joined the HSUS ProtectSeals campaign, agreeing to avoid buying all seafood products from Canada until the nation permanently ends seal hunting.

Earth Fare joins a list of more than 3,000 restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, and casinos across the U.S. who are participating in the ProtectSeals campaign, according to HSUS. Other campaign participants include Legal Sea Foods, Whole Foods Markets, Trader Joe’s, Publix Supermarkets, Margaritaville Cafes, Ted’s Montana Grill, and Oceanaire.

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