A lot of people who like to eat healthy in Guilford County were very upset to hear the news on Monday, Feb. 3 that all Earth Fares – a store chain truly beloved by many area shoppers – would be shutting down.

The news was spreading fast Monday after Earth Fare, a chain that specializes in natural and organic foods, announced that all 50 of its stores across the country will be closing in a matter of weeks.

The Asheville-based chain has been operating two stores in Guilford County – a 2965 Battleground Ave. location in Greensboro and one at 4105 Brian Jordan Place in High Point.

The thing that makes the High Point store closing so shocking is that that store just opened last summer. Just a few months ago, the store was putting out ads seeking to hire a lot of new employees to staff that brand new store.

The stores will remain open for the upcoming weeks as they sell off all of their existing stock. Unlike some health food stores, Earth Fare generally offered surprisingly good prices on organic and other healthy foods.

The health food grocery store space has become increasingly competitive in recent years, with a new Sprout’s and Trader Joe’s opening up late last year on Battleground near the Greensboro Earth Fare.

A February 3 corporate announcement of the universal closures stated, “Earth Fare has been proud to serve the natural and organic grocery market, and the decision to begin the process of closing our stores was not entered into lightly. We’d like to thank our Team Members for their commitment and dedication to serving our customers, and our vendors and suppliers for their partnership.”

In recent years, Earth Fare has tried various strategies to increase revenue, but none of those turned things around financially, at least not enough for the company to survive.

“While many of these initiatives improved the business, continued challenges in the retail industry impeded the company’s progress as well as its ability to refinance its debt,” the statement read. “As a result, Earth Fare is not in a financial position to continue to operate on a go-forward basis. As such, we have made the difficult, but necessary decision to commence inventory liquidation sales while we continue to engage in a process to find potential suitors for our stores.”

The first Earth Fare store opened in Asheville in 1975 and the chain had grown over the years to 50 stores in 10 states.

The only solace for Earth Fare fans is that existing stores will be selling off all of their merchandise at substantial discounts from now until the shelves are empty.

The corporate press release notes sadly, “Store fixtures are also available for sale as part of this process.”