The Farm Fresh grocery chain, founded 61 years ago in Norfolk, is fading away.
Grocery wholesale distributor Supervalu Inc., which has owned Farm Fresh since 1999, said Wednesday it no longer plans to own the chain that once dominated Hampton Roads.
Supervalu said it had entered into three separate definitive agreements to sell 21 of its 38 Farm Fresh stores for about $43 million in cash to three different retailers: Kroger’s Harris Teeter brand, Kroger brand and Food Lion.
The company said it is continuing discussions and exploring potential transactions to sell the remaining 17 Farm Fresh stores, including one on East Main Street in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom neighborhood, to current and prospective wholesale customers and certain Farm Fresh employees.
“Exiting the Farm Fresh banner will enable us to allocate greater resources and energy toward the strategic growth of our wholesale business,” Mark Gross, Supervalu’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “This decision was not taken lightly, given the impact on our employees and the communities we serve, but we strongly believe this decision is in the best long-term financial and strategic interest of our business.”
Farm Fresh gave employees at the Richmond store layoff notification letters and a minimum 60-day notice as required by law, he said.
A couple of employees said Thursday they weren’t sure what would happen to the store or to their jobs. “Our manager thinks the store will be sold but who knows what will happen to our jobs if that happens,” said one female employee, who asked that her name not be used.
Farm Fresh has operated the 37,000-square-foot store since July 2004.
The chain returned to the Richmond market then by taking control of the supermarket’s operations at the request of parent company Supervalu.
Looks like more opportunity for the upcoming East End Grocery Store: