Southern Season explains what went wrong at Libbie Mill

Posted at 8:33 AM, Apr 12, 2016

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — With home sales beginning and construction on its apartments set to commence, a massive mixed-use development is losing an anchor tenant.

Southern Season announced Monday it plans to close its 53,000-square-foot gourmet foods store at 2250 Staples Mill Road in the Libbie Mill Midtown development.

Southern Season’s in-store restaurant, Southerly, closed yesterday, as did its deli and bakery. The store itself will close April 24.

Dave Herman, president of Southern Season, gave a straightforward reason for shutting down less than two years after opening the Richmond storefront: not enough sales in too big of a space.

“It’s slower-than-expected-growth in the store,” Herman said, adding Southern Season is shifting in other markets to opening storefronts with smaller footprints. “The store is bigger than it needs to be.”

Herman, who was hired by the company in 2014, before the Richmond store opened, said Southern Season’s 115 employees at the Richmond location will have the option to take severance packages or get transferred to the business’s three other stores in North Carolina and South Carolina. The company also announced Monday its plans to open at least two new smaller stores this year, in Atlanta and Asheville, North Carolina.

The store’s departure leaves at least a temporary hole on the commercial side of Libbie Mill, an 80-acre development from Gumenick Properties.

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