Roanoke’s Earth Fare quietly reopened Monday.
Last week a company spokeswoman said the specialty grocer would open its Roanoke location sometime this week, but a specific date had not yet been set. News of the store’s opening was shared on the Earth Fare Roanoke Facebook page Monday.
The Asheville, North Carolina-based Earth Fare announced earlier this year that it would shutter all locations and it filed for bankruptcy. But a group of buyers came together to purchase a handful of stores, including the one in Roanoke, with plans to revive them.
Andrea Munivez, assistant manager at the Roanoke store, said a big grand opening celebration like the one that took place when the grocer first opened its doors in Roanoke in 2017 is not planned this time because of COVID-19. Earth Fare officials didn’t want hundreds of people lined up, especially when the store can have only so many customers inside at a time.
Many of Earth Fare’s offerings should be familiar to former customers, though Munivez said the store will be working with more local vendors. She said the store would be less corporate and more community-oriented.
Customers were excited to return to the grocery store Monday, she said.
“One guy came in and he was like, ‘Am I dreaming? Is this real?’ ” Munivez said.
Earth Fare has about 85 employees at its Roanoke store, Munivez said, and about half of the original staff returned.
Earth Fare is at 2203 Franklin Road S.W. in the Ivy Market shopping center. The store is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.