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The Daily Planet's Opinion: Mach 2020
Wednesday, 04 March 2020 00:09

Earth Fare’s closing? A tragedy

To our great sadness, Asheville-based Earth Fare, which touted itself as one of the largest natural and organic food retailers in the country, has closed all 50 of its stores, effective late February.

The news early Feb. 3 of the store’s relatively sudden closing was a shock to everyone — long-time loyal customers, devoted employees and everyone else, too. Nobody on “the outside” seemed to have seen it coming.

The company had about 3,000 employees. Its motto, “Live Longer With Earth Fare,” reflected its all-natural products and wellness supplements.

The store was started in 1975 as Dinner for the Earth in a modest building on Merrimon Avenue, later was shifted to Moog Music’s current location on Broadway Street and then, finally, settled at Westgate. From there, it grew to more stores, and eventually was sold by its founders to private equity firm Oak Hill Capital.

Alas, the corporate control appear drove Earth Fare into the dust by not only building new stores at a rapid clip, but also remodeling others at the same time.The Wall Street Journal, which broke the story, began by stating: “Facing challenges in the retail industry and unable to refinance its debt,” Earth Fare is closing down. It faced tough competition, including Whole Foods and Publix, among others.

Earth Fare’s original Westgate store was, as one person put it, “A heartbeat of Asheville.” Our hope is that someone — with Dinner for the Earth’s original independent, health-conscious, caring spirit — will reopen in that space soon.


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