Earth Fare Entering Jacksonville, Fla., Market


Earth Fare, the Asheville, N.C.-based chain of natural food stores this week is opening its first store in northeast Florida, in the city of Jacksonville. The location will be its 33rd. The company is present in nine Southeastern and Midwestern states.

Earth Fare currently has one other Florida store, which opened in Tallahassee in 2010. Its competitors in the state include Publix, Winn-Dixie and Walmart, while Trader Joe's plans to open a store in Jacksonville this October.

When asked by PG about the proliferation of natural food stores across the country, David J. Livingston, of Waukesha, Wis.-based supermarket site analysis and competitive intelligence firm DJL Research, attributed it to "a combo of demand by consumers and a 'Johnny come lately, me, too' [retailer mindset of] chasing after Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, hoping to get some scraps churned up by their wake."

Noted Livingston, "Earth Fare is a small player, often doing only a fraction of the volume of a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's," so not likely to be a real threat to either one in Florida or elsewhere.

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