Why the Fresh Market is going back to its roots

Specialty grocery chain The Fresh Market opened its latest store in south Charlotte, N.C., last week as a larger, 21,000-square-foot format that replaces its first Charlotte location, a smaller store that opened in 1991, said a report in the Charlotte Observer.

The new store ― the Greensboro, N.C.-based chain’s single new location in 2018 ― recalls the upscale grocer’s beginnings as a European-style specialty market, CEO Larry Appel said in The Charlotte Observer.

"Our store’s not a grocery store; it’s a treasure hunt," said Appel, who was hired by the company as CEO in 2017. The chain operates predominantly in the Southeast.

Founded in 1982, The Fresh Market decided earlier this year to decelerate its rate of expansion. Last summer, the grocer announced it was closing 15 underperforming stores across the U.S. to improve its financial health, the report added.

However, with the “ultra-competitive” grocery environment in Charlotte, as well as in the other 21 states in which it operates its 161 stores, the company decided to refocus to stand out against other supermarkets like Whole Foods Markets, Earth Fare and Sprouts Farmers Markets, and maximize what it considers its biggest strengths as a destination for distinctive international and gourmet foods and a large produce assortment, Appel told the Charlotte Observer.