This year has imposed incredible challenges on businesses, including restaurants and grocery stores. Some of the nation's largest restaurant chains have declared bankruptcy largely as a result of mandatory closures due to the pandemic. However, even before March, several regional grocery store chains had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
There are five specialty and health-forward grocery chains with more niche markets that suffered from financial burden this year, with some going bankrupt as early as January. While some big box retailers witnessed dramatic spikes in sales during the pandemic, the same wasn't the case for various specialty grocers that were already going out of business.
Recently, Fresh Thyme supermarket announced it would be closing three of its stores in Nebraska. But, the chain is still operating 70 locations across 10 states, whereas the five specialty chains below have said goodbye to many, if not all, of their stores.
Here are the five grocery store chains that have filed for bankruptcy this year.
And for more, check out 9 Restaurant Chains That Closed Hundreds of Locations This Summer.
Earth Fare, the healthy supermarket, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Feb. 4 of this year. The Asheville, North Carolina–based chain was operating 50 stores in 10 states and employed around 3,000 people. However, at the end of March, Whole Foods announced it would reboot one of the Earth Fare locations in South Asheville and a group of local investors plan to revive a handful of the store locations.
The regional, natural foods chain that opened in Boulder, Colorado in 2003 reported on Jan. 21 that it is filing for bankruptcy and shuttering 32 of its 39 stores. Lucky's financial standing became unstable once grocery giant Kroger announced it would divest its stake in the chain that bills itself as "organic. for the 99%." Currently, six locations remain open between Colorado, Ohio, Michigan, and Missouri.
On Jan. 21, the near-century-old, Northeastern grocery chain declared bankruptcy after accepting a bid from Village Super Market to buy five of its locations in Manhattan as well as its distribution center for $70 million. In March, Amazon bid to buy four other stores located in Brooklyn and Westchester, New York and Woodland Park and Paramus, New Jersey.
Kings Food Markets
On Aug. 23, the parent company of Kings Food Markets, KB US Holdings, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after years of "historically low" earnings due to competitive pressures and labor costs, as The Wall Street Journal reported. Kings debuted in 1936 and has 25 stores in the East Coast.
Balducci's is also owned by the same parent company as Kings Food Markets, but only has 10 locations (for now) between Virginia, Maryland, New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Nina Balducci, who spearheaded the store's model in New York City alongside her husband in 1972, passed away in April. It truly is the end of an era for this specialty grocer store.
And for more, check out these 108 most popular sodas ranked by how toxic they are.