Urban Farmhouse closes Rocketts Landing location

Urban Farmhouse’s Rocketts Landing location was housed in the ground floor of one of the development’s residential strips.

A local café chain has closed its eastern-most outpost after less than three years in business.

Urban Farmhouse Market & Cafe on Thursday ceased operations at its Rocketts Landing location at 4821 Old Main St.

A small crew of workers was seen removing items, equipment and décor from the 3,000-square-foot storefront, which the chain had occupied since June 2016 after taking over the space from Mbargo.

Kathleen Richardson, Urban Farmhouse founder and owner, said in an email Thursday the Rocketts Landing closure will allow the company to pursue another location, possibly in the western half of the region.

Kathleen Richardson

“As part of our growth strategy, we are closing lower-volume stores,” Richardson stated. “We are looking to more populous parts of town for growth within the next 12 to 15 months”

Richardson said Rocketts Landing was an ideal location for Urban Farmhouse, but construction along Main Street to accommodate bus rapid transit caused revenue to slip. She said despite having double-digit growth since the corridor’s reopening, it was not enough to salvage the store.

“Our model simply required a faster ramp up as we’ve waited for the completion of the projects,” Richardson stated.

The chain continues to operate four locations: at Linden Row Inn at 100 E. Franklin St., as well as in Midlothian, Shockoe Slip and Scott’s Addition.

A letter on the door announced the store’s closure in Rocketts.

Richardson closed her previous Church Hill location in 2016 in favor of opening the Rocketts Landing spot. She also closed Urban Farmhouse stores in Manchester and VCU that same year.

A native Richmonder and VCU alumnus, Richardson founded Urban Farmhouse in 2010, growing the brand to six locations at one point in 2016.

But that growth began to slow about three years ago, when Richardson realized that sales were coming up short at some of her cafes located in up-and-coming neighborhoods that were just starting to catch their stride.

“When I first opened the Rocketts Landing location, it made money within the first month of opening,” Richardson told BizSense in 2016. “That gave me the confidence to go out and open additional locations in other neighborhoods, thinking that the same effect would occur.”

Richardson last year began to wade into the concept of franchising the brand beyond metro Richmond.

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