Earth Fare, the Asheville, NC-based natural and organic supermarket chain with dozens of locations across the southeastern and midwestern U.S.—including one in Athens' Five Points neighborhood—has begun the process of closing all its stores, the company announced Monday.
The chain's decision is the result of "continued challenges in the retail industry [that] impeded the company's progress as well as its ability to refinance its debt," reads a press release, which adds, "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."
All Earth Fare employees have been notified, according to the company.
No time table has been given for the closures, but Earth Fare says it will "commence inventory liquidation sales while we continue to engage in a process to find potential suitors for our stores."
According to the press release, the company will begin offering deep discounts on food and other merchandise—including store fixtures—in order to clear out existing inventory.