GREENFIELD — After nearly 30 years, the Marsh Supermarket in McKenzie Plaza is set to close its doors.
On Tuesday, store employees began breaking the news to customers that the store would close May 6, with discounts starting Wednesday to clear out the local inventory.
The closure of the Greenfield store follows similar announcements at several other Marsh locations in the area in the past year. Last summer, the Marsh store on east Washington Street closed after the lease on the building expired. The supermarket’s New Castle location shuttered its doors soon after.
Marsh officials announced in July the company had updated about 25 stores over the past two years and had plans to renovate an additional 20. Yet since the beginning of the year, the company has closed a handful of stores in Indianapolis, citing low sales.
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David Palmer, senior vice president of sales, marketing and advertising, said “weak performance” over the years at the North State location forced the closure. No plans to close Marsh’s New Palestine location have been announced.
“This is a very difficult decision for us, as we have been serving the Greenfield community for many years and have many great relationships with our valued customers,” Palmer wrote in an email to the Daily Reporter. “We are working to employ any associate who wishes to remain with Marsh at one of our other stores.”
The Greenfield Marsh has long served as the cornerstone of McKenzie Plaza, at the northwest corner of McKenzie and State streets, which also holds 13 smaller storefronts. Three of those storefronts currently are empty. The 3.4-acre Mc-Kenzie Plaza shopping center is owned by Greenfield SSG, LLC; a lawyer for the company did not return a call requesting comment on the future of the plaza, which is valued at about $778,000, according to city records.
Marsh’s closure marks the second blow to Greenfield’s retail market in recent weeks. Last month, Gander Mountain announced plans to close its Greenfield location at 2175 Barrett Drive, with company officials making similar remarks about underperformance.
Julie Adkins of Wilkinson visited the Marsh store on Tuesday with her 2-year-old daughter — she said she’s been shopping at the store since she was a little girl herself.
The quality of the selections in the meat department has brought her to the store again and again, she said. She’s gotten to know the employees over the years, and enjoys visiting with them while she shops.
“It makes me very sad to hear they’re closing,” she said. “I don’t know where we will shop; we’ll have to go to other places around town.”
The Marsh family first opened a Marsh location near Muncie in 1931. Once operating 120 stores throughout Indiana and Ohio, the company now operates 67, the IBJ reports.
Marsh is one of four grocery chains in the Greenfield area — shoppers will have Walmart, Kroger or Aldi to choose from once the Indiana-based business closes.
Customer Linda Scott said while she’s disappointed her go-to grocer is closing, she will take her business to other Greenfield stores; the county’s only other Marsh store, in New Palestine, is farther than she wants to drive.
Scott has shopped at the Greenfield store since her son worked there while he was in high school; the quality of the meat and produce kept her coming back through the years.
Marsh opened its current location in the summer of 1988, moving employees and merchandise from its former store on the corner of McKenzie Road and State Street. The development was a controversial one at the time, with neighbors of the proposed shopping plaza expressing concerns about traffic congestion and safety for children who walk to local schools nearby. A lawsuit filed by area homeowners protesting the project ultimately failed.
Employees of the local Women, Infants and Children Food and Nutrition Service office began reaching out to their clients Tuesday after they received notice from the state that the Marsh store will stop accepting WIC benefits starting Wednesday, said Greenfield WIC site supervisor Amanda Hinkle.
Because WIC clients must select specific healthy food items, and the grocery store might run out of those items as they sell off their stock, the local Marsh store chose to stop accepting WIC benefits, Hinkle said.
“We’re trying to get the word out as quickly as possible so people won’t shop and be turned away,” she said.
Longtime customers of the Greenfield Marsh store expressed surprise, saying store leaders had in recent years taken steps to rearrange displays, making them more customer-friendly. There was nothing to suggest the store was on its way out, they said.
Rebecca Steuer of Greenfield remembers walking to Marsh from her parents’ Michigan Street home, just a few blocks south of the store, when she was a girl.
She joked they often used it as a refrigerator on summer days, seeking relief from the heat in the air-conditioned store.
“Whenever we needed anything, we would run right over to Marsh and get it,” she said.
She still visits the store when she shops for her own family and said she’s sad to see it close.
The store was a little more expensive than other grocers in Greenfield, she said, but the service was worth the extra few dollars she spent, she said.
A shopping cart was always ready for her; the employees friendly, she said.
“It’s the place I love to go to,” she said. “It’s a great store … I’ll really miss it.”