1. News
  2. /
  3. Business

After closing all stores, Earth Fare files for bankruptcy

The organic grocer owes money to several food distributors as well as Instacart.
The wellness and beauty section at the Earth Fare grocery store in Seminole after it opened four years ago. [Times (2016)] [EDELHEIT, EVE  |  Tampa Bay Times]
The wellness and beauty section at the Earth Fare grocery store in Seminole after it opened four years ago. [Times (2016)] [EDELHEIT, EVE | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Feb. 4

A day after announcing it would close down all of its stores, Earth Fare filed for bankruptcy Tuesday.

The North Carolina-based organic grocer has three locations in Tampa Bay and another in Sarasota. In total, there are 14 Florida stores.

Filings from its bankruptcy case in Delaware show the chain first began exploring selling off the company in November. Ultimately, company leadership recommended filing for relief under chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Related: Organic grocery chain Earth Fare is shutting down

As part of its filing, the organic food stores had to list its top creditors. The documents show that Earth Fare owes food distributor UNFI — or United Natural Foods, Inc. — about $9.6 million.

The food distributor, headquartered in Rhode Island, has a large warehouse in Sarasota. A handful of other food distributors on the list, from meat to fish companies, are also owed several million dollars.

The documents show the chain owed more than $750,000 to a Jacksonville developer and $216,000 to grocery delivery app company Instacart.

The bankruptcy filing comes just over a week since one of its competitors, Lucky’s Market, filed for bankruptcy and closed all but seven locations.

Earth Fare blamed a changing retail market and challenges managing debt as factors leading to its decision to shut down stores.


  1. Florida has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country. [Courtesy of Clearwater Police]
  2. The 26-story JW Marriott hotel is rising across the street from the Marriott Water Street Hotel near Amalie Arena. [RICHARD DANIELSON | Times]
  3. This file photo shows a Pier 1 Imports store in Dallas. Pier 1 Imports is closing nearly half its 942 stores as it struggles to draw consumers and compete online. The home decor company said Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, it is closing up to 450 stores and will also shutter distribution centers. It didn't say where the store closures would occur, but it operates stores in the U.S. and Canada. Pier 1 also plans layoffs at its corporate headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. [Donna McWilliam | Associated Press (2005)]
  4. [Getty Images]
  5. Express Parcel Service says is plans to shut down its operations at the Amazon distribution station at 9900 18th Street N in St. Petersburg, as well as in Tampa, Miami, Fort Myers and Palmetto. (Google street view)
  6. Adisa Dzudza-Sunjic, MD, (on left) and Carla J. Danesi, registered and licensed dietitian, have joined Access Health Care Physicians.
  7. The developers of Avalon Park West in Wesley Chapel are planning a $736 million downtown core to accompany nearly 2,700 residences and 355,000 square feet of commercial and office space in a walkable neighborhood. . As part of the deal, Pasco County will consider kicking  in a $33 million 30-year incentive, mostly a tax rebate to help with infrastructure costs.
  8. The ceremonial groundbreaking of Saint Leo University's Wellness Center was held Feb. 6. Pictured from left: Jon Akvan, project manager, JLL; Troy Powell, project manager, Creative Contractors; Melanie Storms, Saint Leo University senior vice president; Jose Caban, Saint Leo associate vice president of facilities management; Jeffrey D. Senese, Saint Leo president; Celine-Deon Palmer, student government union president; D. Dewey Mitchell, Saint Leo Board of Trustees chair; Alan Bomstein, CEO, Creative Contractors; and Joshua Bomstein, president, Creative Contractors.
  9. ByDesign Technologies, a Tampa-based company that provides business management tools for direct sellers, was acquired by Kansas firm Retail Success this week. Pictured is the Tampa skyline in 2019. [Times (2019)]
  10. The Related Group proposes to build two condominium towers, represented by the two buildings in the middle of this rendering, with 168 luxury condos on Bayshore Boulevard south of W Bay-to-Bay Boulevard in Tampa. In this rendering, the see-through figures represent the planned Aquatica condo project to the north and the existing Stovall on Bayshore condo tower to the south. (Rendering courtesy of the Related Group)
  11. Lumber is stacked at the Home Depot store in Londonderry, N.H. Don’t let your desire to upgrade your home downgrade your home's market value. Before you make a renovation fantasy a reality, consider whether the project will pay off when you're ready to sell. [Charles Krupa | Associated Press (2019]
  12. Amazon Prime trucks await their packages at Tampa International Airport. Times (2016)