ORLANDO, Fla. – After Lucky’s Market opened 10 locations across Central Florida in the last four years, all but one of those stores will close next month, according to sources at the grocer.
Lucky’s Market is among a growing market of organic grocers offering healthy foods, bulk dry goods, ready-made meals and organic produce. The stores typically have a cafe area and juice bars. Lucky’s also allows customers to sip on $2 and $3 beer and wine as they shop with specialty cart-mounted cup holders.
Sources told News 6 of the 21 locations in Florida, only the West Melbourne Lucky’s Market will remain open after Feb. 12. Of the 39 stores nationwide, 32 will close next month.
“I think it’s really unfortunate because I think the locations are amazing,” shopper Bryan Mays said at the Winter Park Lucky’s on Tuesday after hearing the news.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel was the first to report the store closings.
Locations in South Downtown Orlando and the Vineland area near Walt Disney both opened last year with grand opening bacon-cutting ceremonies. The chain also operates markets in Clermont, Hunter’s Creek, Ormond Beach, Colonial Landing and Winter Park.
Full-time employees will receive some severance pay.
Store-wide sales will begin Wednesday with at least 25% off items.
Sources would not say why so many of the stores are closing. However, last month the supermarket Kroger pulled out of its investment into Lucky’s Market, according to Dec. 5 report in the grocery news outlet Grocery Dive. The investment three years ago from Kroger allowed Lucky’s Market to rapidly expand in the Florida market where Publix dominates the grocery industry, according to the Grocery Dive report.
Some customers had speculations.
“I think they just expanded too fast,” Mays said.
Orlando’s supermarket scene has been heating up in the past several years with the addition of Trader Joe’s, Sprouts Farmers Markets and Earth Fare grocers to the Central Florida area.
At the same time, Winn-Dixie, which has been in the Florida market for decades, has been closing stores as it faces stiffer competition.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.