‘It wasn’t an easy decision.’ Popular store, Earl’s Grocery, closing in Elizabeth


(FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – For the last seven years, Earl’s Grocery has sat on Elizabeth Avenue steps from Novant Health Presbyterian Hospital.

Bonnie Wardford is one of the owners and said the store will be closing at the end of the month. She and her sister Tricia Maddrey named the store after their dad.

“We just don’t feel confident right now in how business is going to be,” Wardford said. “It wasn’t an easy decision, we’ve been thinking about this for a while hoping that our business would really get back to a point where we can sustain, but it’s just not there.”

For breaking news delivered to you, subscribe to FOX 46 Charlotte’s breaking news email list

The store has been a neighborhood grocery, deli and coffee shop for foot traffic in the area.

Selling local items and attracting customers like Luna and her owners Kayla Shultz and Brittany Chadwick for several years now.

“Every time you come in here, it’s like really warm and friendly,” Schultz said. ”It’s open and welcoming to people and that’s something that you don’t get everywhere.”

Other customers like West Bryant says traffic in the area has slowed during the pandemic. “It’s definitely diminished from pre-COVID,” Bryant said.

Construction, rising food cost and a lack of revenue has also played a part. Normally the business would bring in about $1.5 million in revenue annually but last year it only brought in about $500,000.

MORE NEWS | ‘Anything is possible.’ Charlotte pilot celebrates citizenship and achievement

Charlotte has seen several small businesses closing their doors during the pandemic. Last month Prices Chicken Coop served its last meals to customers. Zack’s Burgers also closed after operating for more than 46 years.

“We’re at a really interesting time with everything opening back up. But also, you know, there’s not any more PPP available for assistance.” Wardford said. “We’re having worker shortages and just a lot of challenges and I think that the food industry can be really brutal, physically, and mentally.”

In June 2020, the sisters announced the closing of Carpe Diem Restaurant and Caterers after 30 years, choosing not to renew its lease.

The building is about one block away from the grocery store. Wardford said they’ve tried incorporating innovative ways to keep from closing like offering delivery services and letting customers shop online. They received a $40,000 grant from the Charlotte Small Business Innovation Fund and said her property owner has been very understanding.

Right now, grocery items and wine are being discounted by 25%. The kitchen at Earl’s will be open through July 17. Online ordering and to-go orders are still available. The store will close permanently on July 24 and the sisters plan to take the rest of the year off to reevaluate. National Restaurant Properties is handling the sale. The business is listed for $150,000, which includes the lease and its assets.

WATCH: FOX 46 Charlotte live news coverage

Sign up for FOX 46 Charlotte email alert

Download the FOX 46 Charlotte app for breaking news and weather alerts.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here