Earth Fare opens sixth grocery store in Charlotte area


Specialty grocer Earth Fare will be opening its sixth store in the Charlotte area this week. This is the last store – for now – the retailer is looking to open in the region.

The 18,000 square foot Davidson store will open at 8 a.m. June 9 at 261 Griffith Street, in the former Healthy Home Market site, which closed four years ago.

The layout of the store will be different from other locations due to formatting, company spokeswoman Laurie Aker said.

It’s about 5,000 square feet smaller than other Earth Fare locations, but will include more than 200 certified organic products and include a hot bar, pizza station, and pre-made salads to take out, Aker said. There will also be a cafe with indoor and outdoor seating.

She said Earth Fare chose Davidson because it’s a community that focuses on health, wellness and family.

Competition is fierce and increasing for grocery market share in Charlotte, with new entrants like the Farmstead online grocer solely to the expansion plans of Publix, Aldi and Lidl.

Earth Fare will open in Davidson on June 9. It is the sixth store in the Charlotte Market. Charlotte’s SouthPark store, pictured, opened in October without notice to avoid crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic. Earth Tariff

The return of Earth Fare

Earth Fare has opened five more sites in the Charlotte area since August.

The Asheville-based company began reopening stores in the area after Hulsing Enterprises bought the brand in the spring of last year. Earth Fare filed for bankruptcy in February 2020, closing its 55 stores in 10 states.

At that time, there were seven stores in the Charlotte area. Other stores that have reopened are in Ballantyne, SouthPark, Concord, Fort Mill and Rock Hill. Two locations that will not reopen are at 14126 Steele Creek Road in Steele Creek and 14021 Boren Street in Huntersville.

“Earth Fare has made every effort to find its previous locations. However, these two locations were bought by other organizations, ”said Aker. “We will just not be expanding into the Charlotte market at this time.”

Earth Fare, which specializes in organic food, has opened 21 East Coast locations in eight states, with more openings planned in Florida, Virginia and Ohio.

As other local Earth Fare stores quietly reopened during the coronavirus pandemic, Aker said Davidson’s opening would be a bigger event.

“We really hope to have a bigger opening than our previous stores,” she said.

Opening of other grocery stores

Walmart remains # 1 in market share in the Charlotte area, followed by Harris Teeter and then Food Lion, according to the latest report from the sales tracking company Chain Store Guide.

Several other grocers are also planning to expand to Charlotte:

Publix plans to open at least five branches in Charlotte. The Florida-based grocer this month signed a lease at Arboretum, on the southeast corner of Providence and Pineville-Matthews Roads.

Other planned stores are in North Creek Village on Sam Furr and Davidson Concord Roads in Huntersville, 10 Tryon building on the northwest corner of Tryon and Ninth Street in downtown, on the corner of Sharon Roads and Colony in South Park and a rezoning petition has been requested for a location at 11525 Carmel Commons.

Salisbury-based Food Lion last month opened a store at 1620 Ashley Road in Charlotte. The company also acquired 62 Bi-Lo and Harveys supermarkets in the Carolinas and Georgia last year and began reopening stores, including in York and Chester, South Carolina.

Matthews-based Harris Teeter plans to open a store on Fort Mill Boardwalk in Fort Mill, SC The company reopened its 34,000 square foot Park Road Shopping Center store in Charlotte in January after a year of renovations.

German discount grocer Lidl opened a store last month at 11225 S. Tryon St. in Steele Creek and plans to open at least three more this year on South Boulevard, Carmel Commons and Mallard Creek Church Road. The latter should open this summer.

Aldi, another low-cost German grocer, recently opened stores in Cornelius, Rock Hill and Indian Land, SC

Last month, online grocer Farmstead extended its free delivery service to homes in North Carolina within an hour’s drive of its West Charlotte distribution center. Charlotte was the Silicon Valley grocer’s first expansion outside of the San Francisco area.

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Catherine Muccigrosso is the retail journalist for The Charlotte Observer. An award-winning journalist, she worked for several newspapers and McClatchy for over a decade.

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