Marsh Supermarkets Inc. became the latest casualty of the ultracompetitive grocery market—done in by its inability to compete with national chains and the cheaper prices they offer.
Fishers-based Marsh in May announced that it was prepared to close its 63 remaining stores within two months unless it could find buyers or business partners.
Ultimately, two Ohio-based grocery chains, Kroger Co. and Fresh Encounter, agreed to buy 26 of Marsh’s 44 remaining stores for a total of $24 million.
Marsh sold off the stores after closing 19 in May and filing to reorganize under the protection of bankruptcy.
Kroger on Nov. 16 opened the first of the former Marsh stores it acquired, the location on West Michigan Street downtown in the Axis mixed-use development. The remaining Kroger stores should open by the end of March.
The sale of the last Marsh stores ended an 86-year run for the company. It opened in Muncie in 1931 and once boasted more than 100 locations in Indiana, Ohio and Illinois.
In 2006, the Florida-based Sun Capital Partners private equity firm bought the family-owned Marsh for $88 million in cash and the assumption of $237 million in debt, and relieved longtime CEO Don Marsh of his duties.•