The Fresh Market grocery store on Milpas Street will close at the end of March after being in operation for just 15 months. The European-inspired specialty grocer, focusing on “freshness and quality perishables,” opened in Santa Barbara in December 2013 and celebrated its grand opening with deals like free reusable bags and sample-sized coffee to its first 1,000 customers. It also made donations from its first-day sales to Share Our Strength, a nonprofit working to abolish childhood hunger throughout the country.

The store closure is the result of a corporate decision to discontinue operations in California and to expand the chain to the East Coast. “We believe that our resources will be used more productively elsewhere at this stage of the company’s development,” top brass said in a statement.

Other Fresh Market stores set to shutter by the end of this month include the Laguna Hills and Palo Alto locations. Three locations in the Sacramento area were also closed last year. It is not known what business will replace the Milpas location. Previously the space had been occupied by Scolari’s Food Company.


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