New owner of Marsh groceries calls Middletown ‘a good fit’

The company that purchased 15 Marsh Supermarkets this week in Ohio and Indiana, including stores in Middletown, Eaton and Troy, says the new stores will be a good fit for their growing chain.

Julie Anderson, director of marketing of Fresh Encounter, Inc., said it will manage the new stores on behalf of Generative Growth II, LLC, a privately-held company based in Findlay.

FIRST REPORT: Grocer to buy 15 Marsh stores, including Middletown, Eaton stores

“We’re very excited about it,” she said. “We already serve a lot of communities like Middletown, and we think this is going to be a good fit.”

Anderson said the acquisition is expected to take place on June 22 and will include stores located at 621 N. University Blvd. in Middletown; 223 Aukerman in Eaton; and 982 N. Market in Troy. A store in Van Wert was also acquired in the $8 million transaction.

“Marsh had a great reputation for fresh food and excellent customer service and we want to keep that going,” Anderson said.

EARLIER: Court approves Marsh deals to sell grocery stores

Fresh Encounter operates grocery stores under the banners of Great Scot, Community Markets, King Saver, Chief and Sack n’ Save. She said the newly acquired stores will be re-branded on a regional basis “with something that makes sense.”

She said the company does not anticipate any changes and said the greatest asset in the purchase will be the employees who work in those stores. In addition, Anderson also said the company is also excited about re-engaging with the community

“This acquisition will be beneficial for both Fresh Encounter and the associates of the former Marsh Supermarket locations. The fifteen Marsh locations will increase our retail footprint in Ohio and Indiana” said Michael Needler, Jr. CEO and president of Fresh Encounter, Inc. “Marsh has been a noble contender in the grocery retail arena for over 86 years. We look forward to continuing their legacy of serving the customer with the best in fresh offerings and excellent customer service, and returning the stores to a community focused, family owned organization.”

EARLIER: Marsh may close area grocery stores if no buyer is found

Jennifer Ekey, Middletown’s economic development director, said the upcoming purchase was good for the city.

“I am glad to hear that it was purchased, and I hope that it will continue to operate as a grocery store for our residents,” Ekey said. “From what I’ve read about Generative Growth, they appear to have a strong focus on engagement in the local community, which is great for Middletown.”

MORE: Read more stories from Ed Richter

The combined companies will now operate 59 stores in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana and employ more than 3,600 people. Fresh Encounter acquired 10 Remke Markets in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky last February.

Marsh, a one-time industry leader in grocery innovation, filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in May after closing 19 stores. The Indiana Marsh stores acquired are located in New Palestine, Marion, Columbus, Hartford City, Elwood, Tipton, Pendleton, Richmond, Greensburg, and two stores in Indianapolis.

Eleven other Marsh’s core stores are slated to be sold to Topvalco Inc., a Kroger subsidiary company, for $16 million.

After closing 19 stores in May, Marsh put 44 stores up for sale after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month. The stores that were not purchased this week inventory liquidations sales would begin immediately and those stores will be sold, according to media reports.

About the Author