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Messineo's Gourmet Market in downtown St. Petersburg abruptly closes

ST. PETERSBURG — Messineo's Gourmet Market, which opened less than a year ago with the goal of serving fresh food to downtown condo dwellers, has abruptly closed.

Confirmation of the closing took a circuitous route — in an announcement e-mailed Wednesday to Groupon customers.

"We are writing to inform you that Messineo's Gourmet Market has closed,'' the announcement stated. "While most of you have already redeemed this Groupon, we know that some have not, and we want to get you your money back as soon as possible.''

The store, 179 First Ave. N, took over the space formerly occupied by Atlanta Bread Company. Owner James Mason, a former Wild Oats executive, spent three years planning the store before it opened June 23.

Hundreds of people turned out that night, getting free hats and ogling at the fresh meats and produce. But prices were high — $6 for a half- gallon of milk, $4.49 a pound for mushrooms — and as the months wore on crowds seemed to thin, along with the inventory.

On Wednesday, the store was dark, the door was locked, a few packaged goods sat on shelves. But no note announcing the closing.

Messineo's Gourmet Market in downtown St. Petersburg abruptly closes 03/30/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 3:16pm]
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