C-ville grocer taking over lone Richmond Farm Fresh store

The Shockoe Bottom Farm Fresh at 2320 E. Main St. will remain open. (Mike Platania)

After being left in temporary limbo as its parent company decided to unload certain locations, a Shockoe Bottom grocery store has found a suitor.

The Farm Fresh store at 2320 E. Main St. will be taken over by Neighborhood Grocery Holdings, a Charlottesville-based company that owns independent grocers Crozet Market and Market Street Market.

Under the new ownership, the store will remain open under the Farm Fresh brand. Neighborhood Grocery Holdings is buying the lease and business assets, but not the building, which is owned by the Wilton Cos.

The deal comes two months after parent company Supervalu announced plans to dissolve the Farm Fresh brand and sell 21 of 38 Farm Fresh stores to other grocers including Kroger and Harris Teeter.

While many Farm Fresh locations in eastern Virginia were part of that deal, the Richmond store – the only one in the region – was not.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and NGH spokespeople could not be reached for comment by press time.

The building and land in Shockoe Bottom are owned by The Wilton Cos., which bought the shopping center in 2013 for $6.6 million. Farm Fresh has been open there since 2004.

Wilton Cos. president and CEO Rich Johnson said the deal was something to be expected for the landlord.

“The store is a strong performer and we had little question that Farm Fresh would find a buyer for it,” Johnson said. “But on the other hand, it’s an outlier from a distribution point of view (for SuperValu).”

Johnson said while Wilton hasn’t seen the final agreement between NGH and Farm Fresh, he expects there to be little, if any, disruption of service at the store.

“We’re just happy to have someone in there that’s going to continue the service to the neighborhood,” Johnson said.

In a release, NGH said it plans to retain a majority of current Farm Fresh employees once the deal closes by the end of June.

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