The city approved a permit Friday for Target Contractors Inc. to build the 24,000-square-foot building that will house the natural foods and organic grocer. The interior work will be permitted separately.
Earth Fare, based in Asheville, N.C., plans to open at 11901 Atlantic Blvd., in the center anchored by Academy Sports & Outdoors, LA Fitness and a new Belk department store that should open in 2015.
Other city plans show Earth Fare, which calls itself "the healthy supermarket," will occupy a 23,775-square-foot building next to Academy Sports. The center, developed by Sleiman Enterprises, is at northwest Atlantic and Kernan boulevards.
Earth Fare, with 31 stores in nine states, has a Florida store in Tallahassee.
According to earthfare.com, the company began in 1975 when Roger Derrough set up "Dinner for the Earth," the first natural foods store in Asheville. The store operated for five years out of a small storefront before moving to downtown Asheville into a larger space along Broadway Avenue, where it operated for 14 years.
The company changed its name to Earth Fare in October 1993 and "decided to join the growing movement to push natural and organic foods to the forefront of the American culinary experience." It relocated in 1994 to the Westgate Shopping Center into a full-service supermarket format and continues to operate there.
It opened a second location in 1997 in Charleston, S.C., and has continued to expand.
"What really sets Earth Fare apart from other stores is the list of things we don't offer … like any products containing high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, artificial colors and sweeteners, and synthetic growth hormones in fresh meat and dairy. We believe food should be as close to the ground as it gets, and we are proud to read the labels so you don't have," says earthfare.com.
North Carolina-based Earth Fare is closer to opening its first Jacksonville grocery store in the Atlantic North center now that the city approved a construction permit for the building's shell at a project cost of $1.04 million.