The Fresh Market is asking customers not to carry guns into its stores.
The grocer said it had engaged in discussions with a group of activists called Moms Demand Action, who gathered nearly 4,000 signatures across North Carolina to support what they call a “gun sense policy.”
“We respectfully request that our customers refrain from bringing firearms and other weapons into our stores,” a spokeswoman for the Greensboro-based grocer said this week.
Fresh Market is asking customers to refrain from carrying guns into stores “to ensure a welcoming environment where our customers and employees feel safe, and treat one another with kindness and respect while shopping and working,” according to the new policy.
“This was not a decision that was taken lightly nor in response to pressure from any outside group,” the spokeswoman said. “After examining the issue from many different angles, we feel that this is a balanced policy that is in keeping with our brand and our desire to maintain a safe, comfortable and welcoming atmosphere in our stores, while still respecting the rights of all our customers,” the spokeswoman said.
Fresh Market joins a handful of other grocers including Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s in asking customers not to bring guns into its stores. Moms Demand Action has also persuaded Starbucks, Target, Chipotle, Sonic, Chili’s and Jack in the Box to change their gun policies.
Moms Demand Action has also asked Matthews-based Harris Teeter to implement gun bans in its stores, delivering petitions to Harris Teeter’s headquarters last year.
Fresh Market, a specialty grocer, opened its sixth Charlotte-area location in Dilworth in November, and operates 20 stores in North Carolina. Apollo Global Management, a New York private equity firm, bought Fresh Market for $1.36 billion in March.