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Earth Fare opens new store in Fort Mill, reopens Rock Hill site

Earth Fare opens its 47th store on Saturday and its first in the Fort Mill area.
Earth Fare opens its 47th store on Saturday and its first in the Fort Mill area. John Marks

It isn’t suggested folks do their grocery shopping blindfolded, but the Fort Mill area’s newest grocer believes — at least in theory — that people could now.

“We want to have a place where moms and dads looking to feed their families could shop literally blindfolded and bring healthy foods home,” said Frank Scorpiniti, president and CEO of Earth Fare.

That place officially opens Saturday morning.

Earth Fare’s newest and 47th location at 2351 Len Patterson Road includes several first week events, from food demonstrations and education to gift card giveaways for the first customers in line Saturday, up to $1,000.

The opening coincides with a “grand reopening” of the Rock Hill Earth Fare, which has been under renovation.

“We will have tons of vendor demos and samples and giveaways,” said Laurie Aker with Earth Fare. “It’s really an opportunity for you to talk to them one-on-one, to learn more about the products you love.”

A ribbon cutting in Fort Mill is at 6:45 a.m., followed by doors opening at 7 a.m.

Earth Fare has been looking at its current site, across from Brayden, for more than two years. They’ve seen the increase in new homes, but that isn’t the only reason they chose the area.

“Certainly population in a community is an important metric,” Scorpiniti said. “But we see a growing community, a community that cares about good food, a vibrant, health-seeking community-mindedness.”

Earth Fare prides itself on fresh products that don’t have extra chemicals or additives. Earth Fare says its offerings are free of added hormones, antibiotics, artificial and trans fats, high fructose corn syrup and more. Other items like gluten free or organic are clearly labeled.

“We’re a philosophy-driven business,” Scorpiniti said.

Now four decades into that business, Earth Fare is growing at about a store opening per month. The Ashville, N.C.-based company is large enough now to where it can offer high-quality foods at reasonable — sometimes surprisingly so — prices, leaders say.

“The business has arrived in its ability to do that,” Scorpiniti said. “We’re large enough that small purveyors find it makes economic sense to make items for our stores.”

The new store will sell items in bulk, including liquids. It will make pizzas to order and other items, and have a scratch bakery. It also sells cakes, cupcakes and more free from additives, bleached or bromated flour and the like, the store says.

“It’s not a science experiment to make this fantastic bread,” Scorpiniti said.

The store also has take-home and other meal options designed for families.

“We really believe we have a higher obligation to provide clean food so that families can eat clean on any budget,” Scorpiniti said.

John Marks: jmarks@fortmilltimes.com; @JohnFMTimes
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