Earth Fare: Under New Ownership

Private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners has acquired an 80 percent interest in Fletcher, N.C.-based Earth Fare from Monitor Clipper Partner, a Cambridge, Mass.-based equity firm.

The transaction values the natural and organic food supermarket at approximately $300 million. Oak Hill Capital is investing in partnership with Earth Fare's current management team and Monitor Clipper, which retains a minority interest.

Founded in 1975 in Asheville, N.C., Earth Fare has 25 stores across the Southeastern and Midwestern United States. The natural and organic food retailer is known for its strict ingredient standards, banning high-fructose corn syrup, artificial fats and trans fats, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, as well as antibiotics and synthetic growth hormones in fresh meats and dairy.

“Earth Fare's unique “Food Philosophy” and commitment to educating its local communities about healthy living create an authentic shopping experience and loyal customer base, as evidenced by its strong historical growth. Earth Fare is well positioned for expansion given robust consumer demand for natural and organic food, widespread interest in environmental sustainability, and significant market opportunity across the United States,” said Tyler Wolfram, a partner of Oak Hill Capital, adding that his company would work closely with CEO Jack Murphy “and the rest of the management team to support Earth Fare's next phase of growth.”

Oak Hill Capital Partners, with offices in New York, has invested in numerous companies, including Duane Reade drug stores and The Container Store organization stores.