ORLANDO, Fla. – Two weeks after Lucky’s Market announced all but one Florida store would close this month, Earth Fare, another niche grocer revealed Monday it is also exiting the market.
Natural and organic grocer Earth Fare recently opened four stores in Central Florida, in Orlando, Lake Nona, Ocala and Rockledge. As part of a company-wide liquidation, all four of those stores and the rest of the Earth Fare locations in the Eastern U.S. will close, according to a news release.
Earth Fare employees were notified recently of the impending closure of the company’s stores and corporate office.
Company officials said that they implemented a number of initiatives to expand the brand to other markets, however, “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,” a statement from Earth Fare said. “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.”
The Ashville, North Carolina-based company is selling assets in whole or in parts, according to a news release.
Stores will have markdowns leading up to closing.
Lucky’s Market locations will close Feb. 12. The Melbourne location will remain the only Florida location open.
The closures come at a time when the Orlando area supermarket scene had been heating up in the past several years with the addition of Trader Joe’s, Sprouts Farmers Markets and Earth Fare grocers. The businesses offered competition for Florida’s dominant grocery chain, Publix based in Lakeland.
At the same time, Winn-Dixie, which has been in the Florida market for decades, has been closing stores as it faces stiffer competition.