A North Carolina-based natural foods grocer plans to open its first Central Florida location in Lake Mary.

Earth Fare (website | Facebook) will locate in the Griffin Farms development, a 35-acre mixed-use project at the southwest corner of Lake Mary Boulevard and Longwood/Lake Mary Road (Gmap).

Earth Fare has not officially announced its intentions, and the company’s marketing director, Angie Laczko, would not confirm or deny that Earth Fare was coming to Lake Mary.

“Florida is a priority market for Earth Fare,” was all Laczko would confirm.EF inside

However, documents on file with the city of Lake Mary show drawings of an Earth Fare prototype storefront and indicate the store will occupy a 25,000-square-feet building within the Griffin Farms development. The store’s signage does not meet the city’s sign code but is expected to be approved as part of a planned unit development (PUD) agreement between the city and the Griffin Farms’ developer, Unicorp National Developments, Inc.

Unicorp’s director of leasing, Amy Schuemann, was traveling and unavailable for comment at publication time.

Earth Fare is part of the niche organic/natural foods grocer category that includes Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Earth Fare claims it has the highest quality standards in the industry.

The company compiles a “Boot List” of ingredients (website) that are banned from all products the grocer sells, and it offers a $50 bounty to customers who find a Boot List ingredient in any of the store’s products. The Boot List has more than 110 ingredients and includes artificial preservatives, high-fructose corn syrup, added hormones, antibiotics, artificial fat and trans-fat and artificial sweeteners.

Founded in 1975 in Asheville N.C., Earth Fare has 36 locations in 10 states, primarily in the Southeast. The Lake Mary location would be Earth Fare’s fourth location in Florida. The company also has stores in Gainesville, Tallahassee and Jacksonville.

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