CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Popular small Charlotte business, Earl’s Grocery, is permanently closing for good later this month.
The Elizabeth-based grocery store, founded by Bonnie Warford and Tricia Maddrey in 2014, is closing due to the lack of profitability. Earl’s pivoted during the pandemic to become a full grocery store but isn’t making enough money to be sustainable, according to a news release.
“We had turned the ship. It was getting better, but it still wasn’t enough,” Warford said.
Earl’s lease expires in August, and the sisters decided not to renew it. National Restaurant Properties is handling the sale with the business being listed for $150,000, according to news outlets.
“This pandemic fallout from a small-business perspective is going to keep revealing itself for a while,” Warford said. “For Earl’s, there were a lot of factors at play. People working from home, road construction … In the past few weeks, some of the foot traffic has returned but not where we need it to be profitable.”
The sisters also made the decision to close Carpe Diem Restaurant and Caterers in June 2020 after 30 years. They shifted their focus to Earl’s and transformed the store into a full-service grocery story which provided pre-made, grab-and-go meals and offers a takeout menu of Carpe Diem and Earl’s favorites. Throughout it all the sisters navigated the challenges of that transition, from building out e-commerce and online ordering, to dealing with supply chain issues.
“We kept pushing and working through it all, but there is not a lot of room for small indie markets in the grocery industry,” Warford says.
Earl’s last day will be July 24.