Santa Barbara Fresh Market closing shop, company exiting California
The presence of grocery chain The Fresh Market in Santa Barbara and all of California is stale.
The company announced in an earnings release March 6, it’s retreating out of the state completely, nixing the short-lived Milpas Street location along with stores in Palo Alto and Laguna Hills.
The Milpas locations was up and running just 15 months after a celebrated opening in December of 2013.
According to the company, the move is part of a strategy to focus on its eastern-U.S. operations.
Fresh Market, which went public in late 2010, focuses on higher-margin foods and services such as imported cheeses, organic produce and on-site butchers. However, organic store growth in the state was slower than anticipated and the company is instead focusing on markets closer to its headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina, the company said.
Fresh Market will eat an estimated $20 million to $26 million in expenses as a result of the store closures. The company closed three stores in the Sacramento area last year.
For Santa Barbara, the departure opens up a big hole of commercial real estate on the Milpas Street Corridor.