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New Organic Grocer in Augusta Area


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The organic food market in Augusta could become more competitive.


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Earth Fare, the Asheville, N.C.-based natural and organic grocer, has signed a lease to fill the former Winn-Dixie store at the Shoppes at Furys Ferry plaza at the corner of Baston and Furys Ferry roads.

"We think Augusta's a growing area," said Jim St. Charles, Earth Fare Inc.'s vice president of real estate and construction. "We think it's a very vibrant city."

The store, similar to The Fresh Market on Washington Road, is tentatively expected to open the 35,000-square-foot location in late July or early August, he said.

The new store is expected to create about 130 full-time and part-time jobs, ranging from cashiers and butchers to cheese experts and management-level positions, said Troy DeGroff, Earth Fare's director of sales and marketing.

Mr. St. Charles said Augusta has the right demographic for the stores, which typically attract the health-conscious, those with dietary needs or customers seeking high-quality foods.

Mr. DeGroff said pay scales vary by experience and market but are usually above minimum wage.

Charles Dunstan, an associate at Augusta-based Dunstan Inc., a partial owner of the shopping center, said facade improvements are planned at the site.

He said the lease would be signed Wednesday but declined to disclose terms, saying only that, "They made a pretty big commitment to Augusta."

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That's great news. I'm sure French Market West and Mimo's are very happy about the plan. Not only does it bring an anchor back to the center, but it attracts upper-income people, many of whom I would think would choose to eat at French Market or Mimo's.

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Earthfare is cool, but wished they would have picked a more urban location. Maybe somewhere on Walton way near the Bon-Aire to cater to the Summerville crowd or even somewhere around Surrey Center. Its a nice addition and Im sure Evans is pleased to have it .

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