Earth Fare Gets New Investment Partner

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Southeastern organic and natural foods chain Earth Fare here has a new investment partner. Cambridge, Mass.-based private equity firm Monitor Clipper Partners has bought out the chain's former financial backer, Capital Insights of Greenville, S.C., said sources involved in the deal yesterday.

According to a source connected to the deal, Monitor Clipper intends to invest additional capital to continue the successful Earth Fare strategy of being a dominant, southeastern organic grocery store chain.

Earth Fare c.e.o. Mike Cianciarulo was quoted in a local news report saying no changes are expected in the retailer's management. The company plans to move into a new 46,000-square-foot warehouse and 13,000-square-foot corporate office in Fletcher, N.C. later this year.

John Warner, president of Capital Insights, served as Earth Fare's chairman from 2000 to 2005. Capital Insights first invested in Earth Fare in 1997, when the company had one store in Asheville, N.C. Warner said the chain now generates $100 million in revenue in 13 stores in South and North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.
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