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Earth Fare plans an Aug. 20 opening for its store at 11901 Atlantic Blvd.

85 employees hired by Earth Fare, which is opening Aug. 20

By Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

BEarth Fare, the North Carolina-based natural and organic food chain, has hired 85 people to staff its first Jacksonville store that will open Aug. 20.

The store is at 11901 Atlantic Blvd. in the Atlantic North shopping center at northwest Kernan and Atlantic boulevards. It is next to Academy Sports & Outdoors and near LA Fitness.

Amanda Arnet, Earth Fare’s new store marketing coordinator, said Tuesday the company is expanding into Florida and chose the site in Jacksonville based on customer demand.

“There was a need in that area. We go to areas where people are looking for it and don’t have it,” Arnet said.

The company emphasizes “Real Food For Everyone” and says what sets it apart is what it doesn’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.

Arnet said Earth Fare also wants customers to know that healthy food is affordable.

“We are here to break down that barrier. We have great prices,” she said. Arnet asks customers to sign up online at earthfare.com for promotions.

An Earth Fare customer email Monday focused on $5 Daily Deals Monday-Friday, including that children up to the age of 6 eat free 4-8 p.m. Thursday with a $5 purchase in the deli.

From noon-3 p.m. Sundays, burgers are $3, hot dogs are $2 and sides are $1.50.

Arnet said the company also is looking forward to being next to LA Fitness and Academy Sports. “It should be a hot spot,” she said.

The ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 7:45 a.m. Aug. 20 and the store will open immediately after. To start, hours will be 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Hours might be adjusted based on customer needs.

Arnet said Earth Fare held a job fair last week and hired 85 full- and part-time employees. A few employees are moving from existing markets.

Earth Fare, based near Asheville, N.C., began in 1975 and operates in nine states, including a Florida store in Tallahassee. Earth Fare’s 32nd store opened last week.

Arnet said Earth Fare was exploring sites in other states, as well as in Florida. She had no comment about possible additional Jacksonville-area stores.

“We are definitely expanding. We are growing as quickly as we can,” she said.

Earth Fare’s Jacksonville store appears to be at least a $2 million construction job. Target Contractors Inc., associated with center developer Sleiman Enterprises, is the contractor for the 24,000-square-foot building shell and the interior work.

Arnet said she had no comment about the total investment cost, which would include the furnishings and equipment.

Plans show the store also will offer a 41-seat café area near the entrance. The café is near the market’s coffee and yogurt bar.

Earth Fare opened a new store July 16 in Greenwood, Ind. The Indystar.com news site reported that Earth Fare has stores in nearby Carmel and Noblesville, each less than an hour away, but officials said they quickly found strong demand for a location in the Greenwood area.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathsKb

(904) 356-2466

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