Marsh set to close all stores unless buyer is found in 60 days

A Marsh grocery store advertising a closing sale on May 9, 2017. (WTHR Photo / Kyle Thomas)
Marsh set to close all stores unless buyer is found
Seven more Marsh stores closing today
Marsh set to close
Marsh may close remaining stores
Marsh could close remaining stores

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Marsh Supermarkets will close all their remaining stores in 60 days if the company cannot find a buyer or business partner to step in, leaving thousands of jobs in peril.

A PR representative hired by Marsh confirmed to WTHR on Tuesday that Marsh will close their 44 remaining stores unless an investment banking firm hired by Marsh can find a company to take on the some or all of the properties.

Marsh closed, or is in the process of closing, 20 stores since the beginning of the year.

Marsh sent a letter to employees stating the potential job losses would be permanent. Mash said the company experienced "unexpected difficulties and increased competition resulting in poor sales performance."

Earlier Tuesday, Marsh reported to the state they could close 16 stores - six in Indianapolis, two in Muncie and Zionsville, and one each in Carmel, Greenwood, Brownsburg, Marion, Kokomo, and Bloomington.

They are only required to report to the state locations that employ more than 50 people. WTHR later confirmed all of the other locations are also at risk, but they all employ fewer than 50 employees so they were not included in Marsh's declaration to the state.

If all 44 locations were to close, 2,788 employees would be out of work. More than 1,000 of those are full time. Forty of the stores are here in Indiana. The final four are in Ohio.

Ben Hebegger, Vice President of Legal Affairs, says an unexpected decline in sales prevented the company from providing more notice.

Mayor Joe Hogsett released a statement on the Marsh closings Tuesday, saying:

"This afternoon, I reached out to corporate leadership to express my concern with the announcement that they may close a number of store locations in the area. Closing all of these stores at once would leave swaths of our city without a dependable source for high-quality food, and could affect hundreds of hardworking residents. Effective immediately, I have directed city leaders to aggressively engage with the company and use all tools at our disposal to prevent and mitigate the effects of these potential decisions."

The signs hanging outside the Marsh on Shadeland Ave. on the northeast side promise a good deal inside, with 40- to 60 percent off products.

That's what Robin Balthrope was in search of Tuesday when she pulled into the parking lot from her apartment just across the street.

"Gotta eat, so I guess I need something," Balthrope said.

The reason behind the good deal doesn't make Balthrope happy, though. The store is set to close and people are going to lose jobs.

"It makes me feel bad to do that," said Balthrope.

"These are the only things left in there," said Dwayne Tyler, holding up two vegetable pie crusts.

He's ok with saving some money.

"Don't nobody want 'em and these are the highest things in there. So I was happy to see 'em," he said.

He's not happy either, though, to know that another Marsh store is closing and he has a good reason.

"You gotta travel all around just to go to the grocery store," he said.

He would certainly know. He lives near 21st & Post. The Marsh he usually shopped at has already shut its doors.

"There's nothing by me but gas stations," Tyler explained.

For Balthrope, who's a regular at the Marsh on Shadeland, the closure means she'll have to find another place to shop for groceries. There's a Kroger close by, but not in walking distance.

"It hurts. I like to come here to grab things at the spur of the moment or do a little shopping, and I feel bad for all the workers because where are they going?" said Balthrope.

That's a question that doesn't have an answer yet.

"No fault of their own. They're being caught up in a situation that they can't control. I feel very sorry for them," said James Lawrence, who shops at a Marsh in Zionsville on Michigan Rd.

Lawrence isn't worried about where he'll shop. He's got options. It's the employees he's gotten to know as a regular shopper here, who he worries about.

"I can manage. I feel sorry for them," Lawrence said of the employees.

Back on the northeast side, Balthrope worries for her neighborhood and the people who live there.

"You gotta have stores to anchor shopping centers to have people come in, and that's what keeps the neighborhoods going," she said, shaking her head.

Marsh announced the closure of all their pharmacies in April. The pharmacy announcement followed another set of store closures on April 18 and another announcement last week that nine more stores were closing.

Below is a complete list of the 16 stores reported to the state Tuesday:

  • Bloomington: 1825 Kinser Pike
  • Brownsburg: 843 E. Main St.
  • Carmel: 2140 E. 116th St.
  • Greenwood: 2904 S. State Road 135
  • Indianapolis
    • 5151 E. 82nd St.
    • 1435 W. 86th St.
    • 227 W. Michigan St.
    • 6965 W.38th St.
    • 2350 Broad Ripple
    • 320 N. New Jersey St.
  • Kokomo: 208 Southway Blvd. E.
  • Marion: 1013 Forest Ave.
  • Muncie
    • 1500 W. McGalliard
    • 715 S. Tillotson
  • Zionsville
    • 10679 N. Michigan Rd.
    • 5 Boone Village

Seven stores are set to close by May 10.