The Fresh Market to close two suburban stores

Updated 7/9/2018 6:00 PM
  • The Fresh Market is closing 15 stores, including this Lincolnshire location and another in Glen Ellyn.

      The Fresh Market is closing 15 stores, including this Lincolnshire location and another in Glen Ellyn. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

The Fresh Market upscale grocer is closing 15 stores, two of them in the suburbs.

The company is planning to close its stores in Glen Ellyn and Lincolnshire, locations that have only been open for about five years.

"Over the last eight months, our company has been executing a turnaround plan and we've seen great progress. However, for a variety of reasons unique to each retail location, that progress is not evenly distributed and, as a result, we have decided to close these long-term, underperforming stores," said Larry Appel, CEO of The Fresh Market. "We will work to relocate as many impacted employees as possible to other stores within our footprint."

Suburban stores that will continue to operate are in Crystal Lake, Geneva, Lake Forest and Wilmette.

The Fresh Market closed its store on Rand Road in Kildeer during spring 2017.

The company is closing other stores in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The company said the decision was made to close stores following the completion of an organizational analysis and careful consideration of the overall growth strategy and long-term financial performance of the company. "We do not expect any further store closures in the foreseeable future," Appel said.

"Looking ahead, I am confident this move will better position The Fresh Market and enable us to continue delivering our great tasting meals, signature products and an incredible shopping experience," he said.

The Greensboro, North Carolina-based company, known for high-quality produce, meat and prepared foods, has faced increasingly stiff competition, particularly in suburban markets where consumers have numerous options for similar offerings -- many of them cheaper.

Meanwhile, the suburban stores that are closing were both high-profile projects for Glen Ellyn and Lincolnshire, villages that pegged other retail development around the grocer.

Lincolnshire officials completed many infrastructure improvements at the village's busiest intersection to coincide with the town's first supermarket. "The village is extremely sad to learn about the planned closure of The Fresh Market in Lincolnshire," said Village Manager Bradly J. Burke. "The Fresh Market is situated at a high-profile intersection at the northeast corner of Route 22 (Half Day Road) and Milwaukee Avenue. The development site was part of a tax increment financing (TIF) district, since expired," he said. The development included an economic incentive agreement that is currently in place.

Glen Ellyn officials also approved a tax-sharing agreement for the retail development on Roosevelt Road, which The Fresh Market anchors. The space was formerly occupied by Packey Webb Dodge, which closed a showroom there in 2008.

The company has seen some changes. A couple years ago, The Fresh Market agreed to be bought by private equity firm Apollo Global Management for about $1.36 billion.

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