Monday, February 3, 2020

[CLOSURE ALERT] Earth Fare to Close All Stores; Three in Georgia

Asheville, North Carolina based Earth Fare earlier today announced plans to close all of its stores.  The grocer, which first opened in 1975, today operates fifty stores throughout ten states.  Earth Fare has three locations in Georgia including those in Athens, Cumming and Martinez (Augusta).  Liquidation sales are expected to begin within the next seven days and  "will feature a truly outstanding assortment of merchandise at very significant price reductions", according to a company release.  
News of Earth Fare's closure comes on the heels of fellow organic and natural foods grocer, Lucky's Market's, decision to close nearly all of their stores amidst a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.  Lucky's Market co-founders  Bo and Trish Sharon purchased seven of the chain's 39 locations and plan to continue to operate them. The remaining 32 units - many in popular and well trafficked locations - are being acquired by Publix and Aldi, among others, according to published reports.  

“Earth Fare has been proud to serve the natural and organic grocery market, and the decision to begin the process of closing our stores was not entered into lightly. We’d like to thank our Team Members for their commitment and dedication to serving our customers, and our vendors and suppliers for their partnership,” said Earth Fare.  

Over the course of the past few years, the Company has implemented numerous strategic initiatives aimed at growth and expansion and enhancing the customer experience.  “While many of these initiatives improved the business, continued challenges in the retail industry impeded the company’s progress as well as its ability to refinance its debt. As a result, Earth Fare is not in a financial position to continue to operate on a go-forward basis.  

As such, we have made the difficult, but necessary decision to commence inventory liquidation sales while we continue to engage in a process to find potential suitors for our stores,” added Earth Fare.

Earth Fare has in recent years closed several stores including two in metro Atlanta in 2018.  The Atlanta area stores - Emory Point and Peachtree Corners - both opened in 2015.  ToNeTo Atlanta exclusively reported August 2, 2019 that Emory University had leased the former Emory Point Earth Fare space to open an "Innovations Hub."  Earlier this year, Emory confirmed the news and announced a name for the project, "The Hatchery." [Emory Point also recently officially rechristened themselves "The Point."] 

ToNeTo Atlanta exclusively reported October 16, 2019 that German discount grocer Lidl planned to open four more Atlanta area stores, including one that is opening in the former Peachtree Corners Earth Fare.  (The other three were also replacing former natural foods grocers The Fresh Market (2) and Sprouts Farmers Market.) 

Industry sources continue to anticipate that fellow North Carolina-based grocer The Fresh Market may find itself in a similar position after years of struggles and stores closures.  

Even with so many natural and organic grocers in trouble, Publix Super Markets in 2018 restarted growth efforts of their standalone GreenWise Market concept.  The organic grocer currently has six stores open and another six in the pipeline including one slated to open in the coming months at the new Sandy Plains Marketplace in East Cobb.  Real estate sources tell ToNeTo Atlanta that Publix is eyeing as many as three other GreenWise sites in metro Atlanta including one planned for Dunwoody.  

Are you surprised to see Earth Fare close all of its stores?  What is your favorite natural and organic foods grocer?  What would you like to see open in the soon-to-close Earth Fare stores in Georgia?

Please share your thoughts below  


Anonymous said...

I visited Earth Fare when it was in Peachtree Corners and seemed much more expensive than Whole Foods with less of a selection. I didn't even realize there was still one in Cumming.

I've had some luck getting decent products at Fresh Market but to me they aren't really doing enough to differentiate themselves since basically their not prepared food inventory mostly consists of things that can be purchased at any other store, often for less money. I admit to not being blown away by Lidl but at least their costs are lower.

Anonymous said...

Sadden by this news, but not surprised. I will just go to WF. Aldi and Lidl can not replace the need for better grocers.

Unknown said...

Not surprised at all. They were WAY too Expensive. I can't imagine who is their client base. 25% higher than even over-priced Whole Foods. Don't know how they have been in business since 1975.

Anonymous said...

@ February 3, 2020 at 1:51 PM

They expanded out of their home base of Asheville NC. Expansion is not always a good thing, especially at fast clip with a highly competitive better grocery market. Unfortunately I expect The Fresh Market to be next to shutter completely.

Anonymous said...

They expanded too far from their base and had stores in Indiana and Ohio which were expensive to operate I would imagine. Prices were way high and I remember buying a head if cauliflower at their Emory store which I promptly returned when I looked at my receipt when I got home and saw that they charged me $11 for it. They had nice stuff in their prepared foods, fancy cheeses, wines, etc. It looks like this segment of the market is shrinking which is too bad, as Whole Foods just leaves me cold.

Anonymous said...

Went to EF this morning. Sales (and crowds) have started.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...