COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Asheville-based Earth Fare chain has announced that it will be closing all locations of the specialty natural and organic grocery stores, including the location in Columbia. 

The company will also begin inventory liquidation sales.

Earth Fare has a store in Columbia, located at 3312 Devine Street, at the intersection of Millwood Blvd.

In a statement, an Earth Fare representative said, "Earth Fare has been proud to serve the natural and organic grocery market, and the decision to begin the process of closing our stores was not entered into lightly. We'd like to thank our Team Members for their commitment and dedication to serving our customers, and our vendors and suppliers for their partnership.

"While many of these initiatives improved the business, continued challenges in the retail industry impeded the company's progress as well as its ability to refinance its debt. As a result, Earth Fare is not in a financial position to continue to operate on a go-forward basis. As such, we have made the difficult, but necessary decision to commence inventory liquidation sales while we continue to engage in a process to find potential suitors for our stores."

Jennifer Mercer, a spokesperson for Earth Fare, said there is no timetable for the closings but that the liquidation sales would begin today, Feb. 3.

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