Fresh Seasons Market will close its two grocery stores in Minnetonka and Victoria on May 5, a manager said Tuesday, ending an eight-year run as a distinctive, smaller-footprint grocery in the Twin Cities’ western suburbs.
“We had a nice, fresh, customer-centered format,” said Noah Atlas, operations manager for the company. “It just wasn’t a big enough following.”
He said the company’s owners, after seeing results from the first three months of the year, could see that business wasn’t improving as they had hoped. Recent price increases in basic food items such as meat also put more pressure on the stores, which tended to have higher prices than bigger chains.
“We were considered more of a high-end store, and that format is getting more difficult to work with,” Atlas said. “People came and shopped, but we couldn’t get a big enough following to put that expenditure out. And the larger stores are able to buy in bigger quantities and get a better price than we are. It makes it very difficult to compete.”
The two stores employ about 60 people each. The Minnetonka store opened in 2006 and the Victoria one in 2009. They were started by Dale Riley, a former executive of several larger grocery companies including Supervalu and Roundy’s, and Tom Wartman, a developer. Riley sold his interest in 2012.
Atlas said the stores will offer promotions until the closing.