Rice Epicurean to close stores for Fresh Market

1 Rice Epicurean Market to remain open

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HOUSTON - A new grocery store chain is coming to Houston, but a local, family-owned chain is closing most of its stores to make way for it.

The Fresh Market announced Wednesday that it will open four new stores in late 2013. Those stores will be in locations that currently are home to Rice Epicurean Markets.

Rice Epicurean Markets said it will continue to operate its stores in the Uptown/Tanglewood, Memorial, River Oaks and West University areas through the holidays. Those stores will close during the first quarter of 2013.

Rice Epicurean Markets' store on Fountain View in the Briargrove area will remain open.

Rice Epicurean Markets was established in Houston about 75 years ago.

"We are excited to expand into Texas, and into Houston in particular," said Craig Carlock, The Fresh Market's president and chief executive officer. "We look forward to introducing The Fresh Market's concept of quality perishable food, excellent customer service and unique shopping atmosphere to a new set of customers, and we look forward to offering our new neighbors a distinctive food shopping experience, one that we think cannot be beaten."

The Fresh Market said it would encourage Rice Epicurean Markets employees to apply for positions at its stores. 

Rice Epicurean Markets will serve as The Fresh Market's landlord at three of the stores.

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