Why is Moorhead's Family Fare closing?

MOORHEAD, Minn. (Valley News Live) - The FM metro is losing one of its larger grocery stores, as the Family Fare supermarket in Moorhead will close its doors this April.

Moorhead shopper, Rhiana Gallagher, says when she's in the area, she prefers coming to the Family Fare in Moorhead.

"When I happen to be making this little drive coming right off 94, it is nice and convenient, especially if I want a Caribou or something like that," she said.

Gallagher says she lives within walking distance of another grocery store, but her sister, a mom of three boys frequents the Family Fare.

"It's pretty well stocked and they have a good selection," she said.

But come this April, she and her sister will have to shop elsewhere.

A manager tells us the store is set to close around April 14. But we’re also told the pharmacy will close after business hours this coming Wednesday.

A manager says the company is trying to place workers into other stores—but it's not yet certain that will happen.

Luckily—as Cindy Graffeo, the executive director of Moorhead’s Economic Development Authority, tells us—shoppers in the area have plenty of other options.

"Here locally we've had new players come onto the scene in the local grocery market,” Graffeo said. “ALDI came to Dilworth, Natural Grocers came to Fargo, so there's changes. We also have things like the new Hornbacher’s in Moorhead that are changing the grocery landscape."

And that's part of the reason she thinks stores like Family Fare are closing. Graffeo says it's not yet known whether local factors played a role in the store's closing. But the grocery landscape is changing.

"Scale obviously comes into play,” she said, “retailers like Walmart can shave off margins because they have so much gross business. Smaller grocers are having a hard time competing in that."

Shopper, Rhiana Gallagher, agrees.

"Some of those prices are so low that it does make up for having to drive a little bit or maybe plan ahead a bit,” she said.

A few workers anonymously tell us that construction of a diverging diamond interchange in the area didn't help business at the store.

One says it routed traffic away from the supermarket. And though it was finished by March of 2016, a few days of re-construction occurred around October 2017.

This comes on the heels of Sam's Club closing this past Jan. 26. Cindy Graffeo, of Moorhead’s Economic Development Authority, says the City of Moorhead aims to help businesses like Sam’s Club and Family Fare, but oftentimes they don’t find out they need help until it’s too late.

"Similar to the Sam's location, we heard about it after the fact,” Graffeo said, “after that decision had been made, and from that standpoint there's really nothing we can do to convince a business to stay in business once that decision has already been made."

We reached out to Family Fare, both in Moorhead and at the corporate level. So far we have not received a comment from either.