24 Comments for this article

Tags: , , , ,


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A local grocery store just had its grand opening on Market Street back in August 2011. But now, just two years later, the owners of Carolina Farmin’ say it’s time to move.

Loyal customers say they are saddened by the news.

“I’m feeling very sad,” shopper David Aslanian said. “I come in here twice a day. I come in the morning for coffee and then I come and get fresh meat and vegetables for the afternoon for dinner.”

But Aslanian quickly cheered up when he heard this would not be the end of Carolina Farmin’.

“I went from mad to sad,” he said.

President and General Manager, Ben Long, says several factors led up to the decision to close the doors at their Market Street store.

He says they weren’t able to come to new lease terms with the property owner, and there are problems with the building and parking lot.

“We do feel like, once again, our customers deserve to pull into a parking lot of which is safe, and navigable,” Long said. “We also feel like whenever they come in the November, December, and January months that they can be comfortable shopping, and not have to wear scarves”

Carolina Farmin’ fans shouldn’t fret over the closure. Long says he has plans to open new locations by next Spring.

In the meantime, you can still buy some items through the online store, as well as in person at several upcoming events.

Randall Heath, Community Outreach and Promotions Coordinator says the future is bright for Carolina Farmin’.

“This should not be seen as a sad day at all in terms of the store closing, but more of an exciting time of where we are going,” Heath said.

And loyal customers say they will follow the store wherever it goes.

“All they have to do is let me know where they’re going to be, and I’ll be there,” customer Delores Lane said.

“Patience is a virtue, I’ll wait,” Aslanian said.

Long says customers should stay tuned for news of upcoming Carolina Farmin’ events.

He says they will hopefully be making some big announcements about new locations soon.

Comment on this Story

  • Sinsa Simmons

    I’m very sad that Carolina Farmin’ is closing. Everytime I went into the store to shop, the workers were always so friendly and helpful. The produce wasn’t the best in town, but it was priced right. I’m looking forward to the new store opening next year.

  • PositivePatty

    I Strongly Support Carolina Farmin’ & CAN NOT WAIT for their future. Im greeted with smiles every time i enter and exit their doors. Their Produce is fresh therefore it isn’t meant to stay in your fridge for weeks at a time like chain stores. They have the BEST selection of craft beers in Wilmington. They’re striving to STRONGLY support OUR local community WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE


  • Guest 1492

    Produce was “fresh” so it isn’t meant to stay in the fridge for weeks at a time? So if it wasn’t “fresh” it would have lasted longer? That just doesn’t even begin to make any sense to me.

    Was that what you were really trying to say?

  • Guest2012

    It always looked nasty and I am used to Farm Fresh produce and what vegetables look like when they are freshly harvested. Thank God, they don’t look like they just came out of Chernobyl.

    Like you Guestomfg, I went in there several times, in Good Faith and walked out EMPTY HANDED, wondering why I bothered to attempt to support this MESS.

    Like other folks mentioned, it was not a clean, fresh or quality customer service experience. FILTHY Bakery Area outside too. Grose!!!

    Horrible Unsafe Shopping feeling too… like there was going to be an armed robbery any second.

    NOT my cup of tea. Harris Teeter and Wal-Mart Win by broad margins.

    BY the way, ALL you downtown folks who HATE Wal-Mart, please feel free to join me at the MONKEY JUNCTION WAL-MART to watch the Guy who owns the downtown “Grocery” stores fill up all of his SIX to SEVEN CARTS early in the morning to stock the shelves in his stores DOWNTOWN….so you downtown folks, (who HATE the Capitalism of WALMART) can pull the wool over your eyes and pay Walmart prices Plus the premium that this Capitalist charges you. YouGo! My middle eastern Americanized Capitalist.

  • taxpayer

    Carolina Farmin’ was less-than-supportive of locally-grown produce. Most of their produce came from South Carolina or Georgia. They would occasionally buy in bulk from Holden Brothers, but very little from the producers you’ll find at the downtown Farmer’s Market. This store has been in danger of closing since it opened. While their front office would put out press releases talking about their expansion plans, etc., in reality, they were always one month away from closing.

  • Guestomfg

    The vegs at HT look great because they dont try and pass off old produce like CF did. Walmart has high turn around so theirs doesn’t sit long but I have seen rotten produce at WM. I went in CF 4 times and walked out empty handed.

    The super RUDE meat counter lady was a liar and told me ALL their meat was organic. Thats the last time they saw me.

  • Guest4572

    Because you called out my “sub-par” comment, I’d like to correct your impression that I’m a “hater”, and perhaps inform you that others here might indeed know well that REAL produce doesn’t look picture perfect. I don’t shop at Walmart, Harris-Teeter, Whole Foods, Fresh Market, or Trader Joes unless there is something specific I need that only they carry. 80% of what I eat is sourced locally, from small producers, and it would have been great if Carolina Farming had even come close to what I am used to eating, and indeed supported area producers. What I, and apparently most others found at Carolina Farming was disappointing, and I believe its’ closing illustrates the point well enough.

    I would agree with you on the one point that the people who worked there were in my experience friendly and helpful, I just wish they had had more to work with.

  • Guest 4253

    “Haters” can shop at Wal-Mart and get “sub-par” quality”?

    Carolina Farming sold old produce that was past it’s shelf life on a regular basis. I tried shopping there, several of my friends tried shopping there, and we all had the same experience. Several of the other posters on this page attested to the very same thing. That’s not a coincidence, that’s a fact.

    To label shoppers who stopped shopping there because they weren’t getting good value for their dollars as “haters” is to really label yourself as a person who’s not completely in touch with reality.

  • BellPepper

    I can get green bell peppers ANYTIME from Trader Joe’s for less than a dollar each. Cheaper than anywhere else I have ever shopped (including Carolina Farmin’) and much tastier.

  • Nick

    They had bell peppers 6 for a $1 not long ago.

  • Vog46

    Of them opening down town. I felt it was a bad location due to the lack of residential properties there. It is still one of the less densely populated areas of the city.
    That said I also note they need a distribution center which also may rule out down town……..
    I wonder if the Junction area would be better for them? Or perhaps south college near the 17th St extension intersection?


  • JPants

    Downtown less densely populated? In a city of sprawling suburban developments, I’d be interested in hearing how housing density in its most urban area is lower than, say, a place like Monkey Junction.

  • Guest4572

    I was very excited when they opened this store. I live downtown and tried to support it, but it disappointed me on each trip. The quality of the produce was shockingly poor for a store with “farm” in the name, and the selection of other items not much better. Nothing special about the place and generally sub-par. I got the same opinion from most everyone talked to about it. I wish them success wherever they relocate, but if it’s the same as this one was, it won’t last any longer. Too Bad.

  • DT Girl

    I think Carolina Farmin’ has wonderful produce at unbeatable prices. What people don’t understand is that REAL produce isn’t always “picture perfect.” Anyone who has ever had a vegetable garden knows that home grown zucchinis, watermelons, peppers, green beans… pretty much anything… don’t look in the garden how they do in Harris Teeter or at Walmart. They also have a lot more flavor. Where in town can you find green bell peppers for $1.59 a pound?? Sometimes Harris Teeter puts them on sale at 3 for $5. I can buy five for a dollar at Farmin’. North Carolina grown Christmas Trees for $35??? It’s an absolute bargain. No, they don’t have every grocery item (and those grocery items are a bit more expensive than you hope for), but they have NC products and the most “neighborhood” friendly atmosphere I’ve experienced in Wilmington. They remember their customers, treat them like family, and will be sorely missed in the downtown community. Haters can shop at Walmart and get the “sub-par” quality and service they deserve.

  • Karen B

    Really bad location. Nowhere I felt safe shopping, and too out of the way.

  • neversurprised

    I too was ALWAYS disappointed. We tried to support our “Carolina Farmin” and did so way too long as regular cstomers, but could not stand to throw away food anymore!! We were disappointed every single time we went in there and bought fruits or vegetables. Their low prices must have reflected the fact they were buying Old Food. I will be very surprised, and a little disappointed, if they open another store.

  • windy

    I stopped going to Carolina Farming after not one, not two, but three run-ins with the dirty man who runs the bakery counter/ice cream shop. His hands were always FILTHY … dark black crud under his nails like he had just been working on his car and returned to work without washing his hands. I was getting tired of this guy waiting on me and handling the food I was buying. What ended my shopping trips there was when he handed me a napkin and there was a brown smudge from where his dirty hands had touched it.

  • ChefnSurf

    That’s because they’re not actually vegetables but are instead “vegetating”, and are being preserved in their own hydrogen sulfide; a substance they apparently generate in copious amounts.

    Unlike what comes out of a controlled atmosphere container, what comes out of the county commissioner’s chambers is no longer fit for human consumption these days.

    Chef :-)

  • GuestNCNative

    I’m just guessing here, but could it be that the author of the comment you questioned referred to the use of preservatives? Foods treated with preservatives during and after harvest stay fresher longer than those without preservatives, but those without preservatives are taken to market sooner and available to the consumer sooner than foods treated with chemicals. So in that sense, food supplied without preservatives is indeed fresher because it gets to the market shelves sooner than foods that are chemically treated with preservatives.

  • ChefnSurf

    Some fruits and vegs can now be stored in special containers that control the amount of O-2 and CO-2 they’re exposed to prior to shipment. That helps to control the “respiration” of the product and defer rot. Once they’re shipped to market, normal respiration occurs just like in fresh picked items. Preservatives, per se aren’t added to produce.

    If “PositivePatty” was trying to say that chain stores use preservative added produce, she’s wrong. To say that any produce is meant to last for weeks is also totally wrong. Ironically, it looks like “PositivePatty” is positively wrong.

    P.S. I gave Carolina Farmin a try on two separate occasions and their produce didn’t last two days. Fresh produce should last at least a week.

  • Vog46

    I have to disagree with you but……..

    Just look at the County Commission – there’s some vegetables that have lasted forever……….


  • RobSurfCity

    You really funny guy !!

  • Vog46

    Don’t confuse business activity with population density. During the ball park debate the NSS survey indicated that down town was the 2nd or 3rd least densely populated region in the city. Monkey Junction is not within city limits BTW.
    The reason I brought it up was that retailers look to residential population density as one measure that indicates where a store would be successful. If you look at Food Lion locations they tend to be near apartment complexes or densely populated areas just outside of city limits. Harris Teeter tends to be along major thoroughfares near population centers as well.
    The reason for lack of grocers down town is the lack of residential density. Hopefully the building of several apartment/condo sites will help attract businesses to the area – lord knows we need to get away from the down town area being attractive only to bars and/or seasonal ice cream shops.


  • Lulu d.

    Totally agree. DT Wilm. really needs a grocery store but it won’t happen until the population increases and there needs to be decent parking!! The city leaders need to give incentives to business owners including a pharmacy, “regular” shopping like in Savannah and Charleston, Wilmington’s downtown area is all bars, gift shops and a few decent restaurants. Look at all the empty real estate that’s been sitting for years! I know, build ANoTHER Harris Teeter near Landfall!! ha ha


Related News