When “Dinner for the Earth,” the precursor to Earth Fare, opened in 1975, it was a novelty in Asheville, N.C., which had never seen a natural food store before. More than 30 years later, Earth Fare fends off competition from larger natural and organic food chains, with 13 stores in four states and a major expansion on the drawing board. Working with a new investment partner, private equity firm Monitor Clipper Partners, Earth Fare intends to open 20 or so stores in the next three to five ...

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