A grocery store in Franklin will close by the end of the month, eliminating an option for shoppers and leaving a large building vacant on U.S. 31.
Marsh Supermarkets plans to close eight stores — seven in central Indiana and one in Ohio. The Franklin store, named Main Street Market, is one of the stores that will close, according to a news release.
The major factors in the closures were declining customer bases and, in some cases, expiring leases, according to a company news release.
Closing the Franklin store at 1172 N. Main St. will eliminate an option for local shoppers, but city officials have been hoping to attract a smaller, more specialized store, such as a butcher or bakery, to downtown or the east side near Interstate 65, Mayor Joe McGuinness said.
The Marsh store struggled to compete with the prices of larger grocery store chains, he said.
“You have too many larger chains in Franklin, with Kroger and Walmart. The smaller ones trying to compete as a supermarket will not fare well when it comes to pricing,” McGuinness said.
The closures are part of a three-year plan to try to help the grocery store chain grow long term, the company news release said. The company also plans to bring all stores under the Marsh brand, update and remodel existing stores and build new stores.
“Customers have spoken, and we are reacting to the realities of the markets and making difficult decisions to address the long-term health of the company,” company officials said in the release.
The company is working with affected employees and will try to give them another job within the company or will offer a severance package, the release said.
Less than two years ago, Marsh closed a store along U.S. 31 near Smith Valley Road in Greenwood. That 31,000-square-foot building remains vacant.
McGuinness said he is concerned about having a large vacancy along U.S. 31 and expects residents will worry about the building remaining empty for years as others along the highway have.
“That’s not the hope, and we will work with the property owners to help locate or pinpoint some kind of tenant,” he said.
Several other storefronts in the shopping center are filled, including a dry cleaning business, a gym and restaurants, and the former grocery store could be broken into four of five separate spaces to be more attractive for marketing, McGuinness said.
Marsh also is closing a store on the southside, located near Thompson Road and Emerson Avenue, the release said. Marsh has a second location in Johnson County at State Road 135 and Stones Crossing Road in the Center Grove area, which was not included in the closures announced Thursday.