Jacksonville, FL—Native Sun Natural Foods Market will permanently close its doors after 23 years in business, according to Jax Daily Record. Aaron Gottlieb, founder and CEO, cited the influx of grocery chains—particularly the nine specialty grocers that arrived since 2015—as the main reason for the store’s closure.
Jax quoted Gottlieb as saying: “Jacksonville has grocery stores ‘sprouting’ up like weeds; crowding each other as well as the local flora. We are sad to say that we didn’t have a deep enough well to keep us going.”
Sprouts Farmers Market is one of the latest chains to move into the area, but there are other grocers there, including Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Trader Joe’s, The Fresh Market, and Lucky’s.
Gottlieb and his wife, Erica, started the company to help people access “clean food, wellness products, and most of all—education.” Gottlieb added: “I deeply believe the local independent business is the heart of the community. I am hopeful that our community will be blessed with another local organic grocer in our future. As all things great come back again.”
In 2008, Native Sun was named WholeFoods Retailer of the Year. They were also named Folio Weekly’s “Best of Jacksonville” award winners from 2003 to 2007.
No closing date has yet been announced.