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Healthy supermarket coming to Turkey Creek

A construction crew works on the structure of the new Earth Fare store in the Turkey Creek development.- Preston Flanders/farragutpress
A new supermarket for health-conscious shoppers is scheduled to open in Turkey Creek late spring.

Asheville, N.C., -based Earth Fare will open its first store in Tennessee June 1 at the corner of Snow Goose Road and Parkside Drive, said CEO and President Michael Cianciarulo.

“This will be the first store we’ve built from the ground up,” he said of the 26,000 square-foot facility.

All seven other Earth Fare stores were opened in existing structures, Cianciarulo added.

Once completed, the supermarket will sell natural and organic products — free of artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, he said.

In addition, Earth Fare will carry USDA organic produce, antibiotic and hormone-free meat and poultry, supplements and personal body care products.

One unique facet of Earth Fare stores is its water purification systems, which the Knoxville store will be equipped with.

“The water is purified, then sprayed onto our produce,” Cianciarulo said. “They don’t get sprayed with tap water.”

The Knoxville Earth Fare will also have its answer to conventional soft drinks.

The supermarket will carry Blue Sky sodas, free of preservatives, additives, artificial colors, flavors and caffeine.

“It’s a natural soda,” Cianciarulo said. “It’s the Coke and Pepsi of our industry.”

The supermarket will also have a healthy café, coffee bar and cooking school. Lectures will also be given at the Knoxville location.

Cianciarulo said the lecturers could range from an organic farmer to a health book author.

“They will discuss anything from how to cook healthy to giving information about supplements,” he said.

Cianciarulo said the store would have an “earth tone.”

“You will get a real earthy feel when you come in,” he said. “The store will be open and spacious with an open ceiling. We’re bringing something to the area that Knoxville doesn’t have.”

The company’s president said he saw a need for a supermarket in the area due to the volume of customers from the Knoxville area that visit the Asheville location.

“A lot of people would drive over here (Asheville) to shop,” he said. “It happens more often than you would think.”

Cianciarulo added that the area surrounding Turkey Creek met the demographic the company looks for.

“A lot of people think it’s high income, but it’s education level that we look for,” he said. “Income level comes second.”

He added that the company also likes to open stores in close proximity to the interstate.

“We tend to like to be closer to the interstates,” Cianciarulo said. “Here (Turkey Creek) we have great access to growth, interstate access and we can pull (customers) from other areas. I think with such a big community and Oak Ridge nearby we can pull from areas like that.”

According to the Earth Fare’s Web site, the Knoxville location will employ 80 full- and part-time team members.

Employees will receive in-store training on a weekly basis.

“We put a lot of emphasis on training,” Cianciarulo said. “We will have people that can help find what you need.”

Cianciarulo said the company is looking to open more locations in Tennessee. The company is currently eyeing Chattanooga, Johnson City and Nashville.

“We don’t want to grow too fast though and lose track of what we’re doing here,” he said.

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