Earth Fare, the grocery store chain that opened in Lakewood Ranch just two years ago, is closing all of its stores, according to a press release issued by the company on Monday. The company blamed "continued challenges in the retail business" for the decision, and announced that it would begin liquidating its inventory, offering what it calls "a truly outstanding assortment of merchandise at very significant price reductions."
The Lakewood Ranch store opened within a year of the opening of Sprouts Farmers Market and Lucky's Market, two other specialty grocery stores new to the area. The news of Earth Fare's shuttering comes just two weeks after Lucky's Market announced that it would close its Sarasota location and most of its other stores, as well.
In addition to produce and other products, Earth Fare served smoothies, coffee and juice in a café setting. The chain, which started in Asheville, North Carolina, touted the healthfulness of its foods, pledging not use hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup in its products.