According to Richmond BizSense, Southern Season is closing its Richmond store. It opened with much brouhaha less than two years ago, with events, a cooking school and an attached restaurant, the Southerly, which garnered middling reviews. It was the third store that the North Carolina company built.
“Southern Season is closing its (store) on Staples Mill Road in Richmond, Virginia, to allow the company to concentrate on its smaller store formats,” Richmond BizSense quotes from the press release. “The decision to close this store was made after careful consideration of the long-term financial performance of this location.”
Customers have expressed frustration since it opened regarding both the store’s high prices and the lack of simple staples to buy at the same time as items from its extensive specialty offerings. Pok Pok Som drinking vinegar or gluten-free Walker’s shortbread weren't enough, perhaps, to get feet in the store. Then there was the puzzling inclusion of expensive purses and scented candles that seemed to indicate a lack of focus.
The 54,000 foot store was “was too expensive and too big to keep open in what it described as a ‘rapidly evolving retail environment,’ said Richmond BizSense. The company plans instead to focus on smaller storefronts, the first of which will open in Atlanta.
As the anchor store for the Libbie Mill - Midtown development -- which also includes the future site of former Lemaire chef Walter Bundy’s new restaurant, Shagbark -- the closure of Southern Season is the latest in a series of surprises in Richmond’s volatile grocery scene.UPDATE: Southern Season will close on April 24.