Published: October 7, 2020

Category: Organic News, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter

Supporters of natural and organic foods were dismayed when natural food retail chain Earth Fare suddenly closed its 50 stores and filed for bankruptcy in February. But now, thanks to new leadership, the chain is being revitalized with eight of its stores reopening and more to follow.

Key to Earth Fare’s rebirth was investment from Hulsing Enterprises and its CEO, Dennis Hulsing, an Asheville, North Carolina businessman. Hulsing is joined by the original Earth Fare founder Randy Talley and Mike Cianciarulo, a former president of Earth Fare. Talley is now Earth Fare’s chief sustainability officer. Hulsing also brought on David Isinghood as Earth Fare’s chief operating officer. Isinghood has extensive experience in natural food retail, having worked for Whole Foods Market for 25 years.

Earth Fare began re-opening stores in June starting with the Westgate store in Asheville, North Carolina, the retailer’s home city. According to Hulsing, Asheville is the first of eight Earth Fare stores to re-open. Another store opened in Roanoke, Virginia in late August.

“We are looking forward to the reopening of stores in Boone, N.C..; Athens, GA.; and Summerville, Charleston, Columbia and Rock Hill, S.C,” Hulsing said in an interview with Supermarket News.

The goal is to open as many as 20 stores by Thanksgiving, and maybe still more, over two phases, according to Talley.

Prior to bankruptcy, Earth Fare had 50 stores and about 3,000 employees in 10 states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. More than half of the stores were in Florida and North Carolina.

Sources: Supermarket News, Winsight

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