Former Marsh stores open under new name, ownership

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Former Marsh stores open under new name, ownership

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Michael Needler Jr. and Julie Anderson

One of the oldest grocery store chains in the area will reopen locations this week with a fresh design and a brand new name.

Generative Growth purchased 15 Marsh stores in June for $8 million, and 14 stores will now reopen under the namesake Needler’s Fresh Market. Three stores in Troy, Eaton and Middletown have received the new store branding.

The Middletown location, 621 N. University Blvd., and Troy location, 982 N. Market St., will host celebrations on Tuesday with product samples and giveaways. The Middletown festivities begin at 11 a.m. and in Troy at 12:30 p.m.

The new markets will focus on local fresh produce while providing in-store made products in the bakery and deli, the owners said.

The new owner, Generative Growth, is based out of Findlay and owns 25 supermarkets in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. All Generative Growth locations are managed by Fresh Encounter Inc., a Findlay-based supermarket management company founded by Michael and Susan Needler.

“Customers can expect a clean, fresh look with our marketing and communication,” said Julie Anderson, vice president of marketing and partner in Generative Growth II.

For months, it was unclear if Marsh stores would even remain open.

Marsh filed for bankruptcy in May after closing 19 stores, and the company estimated its liabilities at $100 million to $500 million and assets at $50 million to $100 million at the time. The supermarket chain announced all 44 supermarkets would close if a buyer cannot be found within 60 days.

At its peak, Marsh operated 120 supermarkets in Indiana and Ohio before being purchased by Sun Capital Partners in 2006. In January 2014, Marsh closed its Main Street Market store in Franklin, along with seven other stores. In 2013, the Main Street Market in Hamilton closed.

“Marsh had a great reputation for fresh food and excellent customer service and we want to keep that going,” Anderson said.

Marsh has longstanding history within the grocery business. The first item ever scanned with a bar code — or the Universal Product Code (UPC) — was scanned at the checkout of Troy’s Marsh Supermarket with the help of National Cash Register, which installed scanners and computers for the store. The grocery store staff spent hours putting bar codes on hundreds of items.

The first “shopper” was Clyde Dawson, who was head of research and development for Marsh Supermarket; the pioneer cashier who “served” him, Sharon Buchanan, according to research from the Smithsonian. The first item scanned was allegedly a multi-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum.

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