The Fresh Market in Wichita will close later this month, according to the company.
A news release said the franchise plans to close 13 stores in four states, including its Wichita location in the Bradley Fair shopping center at 1800 N. Rock Road.
All closings will be effective May 18, according to the release and Amy Liebau of Laham Development, Fresh Market’s landlord in Wichita.
Liebau said a going-out-of-business sale will begin Wednesday morning. The company is making the changes in order to focus more on its core market area in the eastern U.S., according to Liebau and the release.
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“The decision is a difficult, but necessary step with the end goal of producing a stronger, more agile company,” Rick Anicetti, Fresh Market’s CEO, said in the release. “This shift also allows us to focus our energy and resources on the growth of our remaining stores, as well as new stores we have planned in the future.”
A steady stream of would-be shoppers stopped at the closed Wichita store on Tuesday evening. A sign on the door said the store will reopen at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
“We shop here once or twice per week,” said Curtis Richardson of Wichita, one of the would-be shoppers. “It’s a nice, relaxed atmosphere. It’s different than some of the mega-places in town.
“They had quality meat and fish, and their prices were good. It usually always seemed to be busy, too. We’ll be sorry to see it go.”
According to Fresh Market’s website, investment firm Apollo Global Management officially acquired the stock of the company on April 27. Because of the change in ownership to the private firm, Fresh Market’s stock has ceased trading on the Nasdaq exchange.
All eligible employees at affected stores have the option to apply for positions in other locations and will receive a separation package, according to the release.
Wichita’s Fresh Market location opened in June 2012. All locations in Kansas, Texas, Missouri and Iowa will be closed, according to the release.