The food desert got bigger this week in downtown St. Louis with the closing of the last two Fields Foods stores.
It looks like Fields Foods has pulled out of its home market in St. Louis. According to social media posts from shoppers and reports by local media outlets, the grocer’s main store in the Lafayette Square neighborhood and its other location in downtown St. Louis closed for good over the weekend.
The shuttering of those stores follows the closing of three other Fields Foods locations over the summer, as recently as mid-August. Two of those sites were new: The store in the Dogtown neighborhood opened about a year ago and the location in Skinker DeBaliviere welcomed shoppers on Feb. 9.
Although owner Chris Goodson previously expressed that he hoped to sell the chain to a group of employees, that arrangement has not worked out. “There’s no offer or deal. I’d say conversations have been fairly limited,” spokesperson Paul Zemitzsch told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Store employees have been let go and no further information is available on potential buyers.
Fields Foods was launched in 2013 in part to improve food access in urban areas that are considered food deserts. The store touted its affordable fresh and healthy offerings, including an assortment of organic, natural and non-GMO items and prepared foods. There were accompanying challenges over the years, which included disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues related to the difficulties of being in a food desert.
Although the stores are now closed, challenges remain. The Field Foods business is facing legal action for unpaid rent and owed taxes, local media reports relayed.
Shoppers in the affected areas can travel to other supermarkets within a fair driving distance, including Schnucks, Save A Lot and the independent Vince’s 12th Street Market and Salama Supermarket, among others. A Whole Foods Market serves customers to the west of downtown St. Louis. In August, Save A Lot re-licensed its last 18 company-owned stores in the St. Louis Market to local operator Leevers Supermarkets, Inc.