What's In Store

Longtime Charlotte grocer puts itself up for sale

The Healthy Home Market on South Boulevard was torn down in 2015 to make way for a $190 million mixed-use development anchored by a Harris Teeter. Healthy Home Market, which started in 1979, confirmed that it has put itself up for sale.
The Healthy Home Market on South Boulevard was torn down in 2015 to make way for a $190 million mixed-use development anchored by a Harris Teeter. Healthy Home Market, which started in 1979, confirmed that it has put itself up for sale. jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.com

The Healthy Home Market has put something new on sale: Itself.

The organic foods grocer started in Charlotte under the name “Home Economist Market” in 1979, when home economics was a subject widely offered in schools. Over time, customers started to get confused, the grocer said, and often wondered whether the store sold fabric or was a financial firm. The name was changed to Healthy Home Market in 2008.

It’s unclear why the three-store chain is putting itself up for sale. A store manager confirmed the sale, but owner John Bauer could not be reached for comment.

Healthy Home Market’s sale follows a national trend. Regional grocery stores are feeling the squeeze as customers gravitate more toward discount grocers, club chains and e-commerce sites, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.

Wisconsin grocers Gordy’s Market and Brennan’s Market, for instance, have closed stores or sold some locations to bigger chains to cut their losses, WSJ reported.

Greensboro-based Fresh Market, which operates 186 stores in 26 states, agreed to sell itself to the private equity firm Apollo Global Management for $1.36 billion last year.

Meanwhile in Charlotte, grocery wars are fierce among traditional chains like Harris Teeter and Publix, and the expansion of German grocers Aldi and Lidl will intensify competition in the low-cost grocery market locally, too. Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods should mean lower prices eventually, meaning fiercer competition in the organic sector, too.

Earlier this year, Healthy Home Market opened a new store in Lenoir. The grocer took over the lease from a JustSave store and operates the new location as a concept called Farm 2 Family Foods by Healthy Home Market. According to its website, however, that location has since closed.

The grocer had a store on South Boulevard that was razed in 2015 to make way for a $190 million mixed-use development anchored by a Harris Teeter. Healthy Home Market reopened in Plaza Midwood on Central Avenue.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

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