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By Celeste Smith, cesmith@charlotteobserver.com

A private equity firm has acquired a majority interest in Asheville-based Earth Fare.

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Oak Hill Capital Partners announced Monday it bought about an 80 percent interest in the healthy grocery chain from Monitor Clipper Partners, a Cambridge, Mass.-based private equity firm.

The transaction is valued at approximately $300 million, according to Oak Hill Capital.

Oak Hill Capital is investing in partnership with Earth Fare’s management team and Monitor Clipper, which retains a minority interest.

“Earth Fare is extremely excited about the future,” Jack Murphy, CEO of Earth Fare, said in a statement.

“We look forward to growing our business with Oak Hill Capital and Monitor Clipper. Oak Hill’s experience in high growth retail partnered with our brand, culture and management team is the perfect combination to continue to build a great company.”

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Founded in 1975, the upscale, natural and organic foods grocer has four stores in the Charlotte area – in Ballantyne, South Park area, Rock Hill, and Huntersville. The chain has 26 stores and three underway in eight states. The business doesn’t sell items made with preservatives, artificial dyes or colors, antibiotics or growth hormones.

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  1. Funny maybe they will change some of their business practices.. Earthfare not only discriminates but is harmful to the economy . They take advantage of local laws and employee base.. They are also not as environmentally friendly as they want you to believe. Bottom line is Earthfare is Undat. I’m not just ranting and raving.. If you want to know details let me know. I am a 16 year grocery veteran.. I worked for Earthfare in management capacity.. I was appalled. They are trying to fool everyone but are starting to get a bad reputation.. For a Lol at What employees think.. real employees, look at glassdoor.com..Also if interested in knowing more, Yes mail me.. Brett

    B2gglass@Hotmail.com