The organic grocery store chain Earth Fare announced Monday that it is closing its Auburn store on Opelika Road, as well as the rest of its 50 stores around the United States.
Company officials explained in a press release that, despite stepped-up efforts to grow and improve the “customer experience … continued challenges in the retail industry” got in the way.
“As a result, Earth Fare is not in a financial position to continue to operate on a go-forward basis,” the company stated in the release. “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.”
Auburn’s Earth Fare location opened almost 10 years ago. From labeling produce so shoppers know what was grown locally to offering an assortment of gluten-free and vegan options, the brand has stayed true to its philosophy of making it easy to live healthy.
As of right now, there is no set date for the closing of the Auburn location, but it has been announced that all stores will be having inventory liquidation sales with all operations ceasing by the end of the February. Earth Fare encourages shoppers to take advantage of the slashed prices on groceries, as well as store fixtures.
“We expect the next week and week after to be super busy with people trying to come in and get their deals,” store manager, Lillian Harris said.
When news of the grocery chain closing its stores went public, Harris said that residents had been calling most of morning to see if it was true. With the closing of Auburn’s Earth Fare location, the closest retailer like it is Whole Foods in Montgomery.
“We get people from Columbus, LaGrange, Montgomery; we get people from all over just to come to Earth Fare,” Harris said of the store’s influence. “Certain stuff that we carry here, there’s not another store within a 50 mile radius that carries it.”
This article has been updated since first publication.