Thursday marked the beginning of the end for 18 Marsh stores that weren’t bought out at a bankruptcy auction earlier this week.
Forty-four Marsh locations in Indiana and Ohio stayed open as the company started going through bankruptcy last month, but only 26 found a buyer at auction Monday.
The remaining 18 – in the Indianapolis area, Lafayette, Muncie, Kokomo, Carmel, Logansport, Connersville and Noblesville – have now started selling off their inventories.
On Thursday, the Lafayette store was offering a 20 percent discount on all merchandise, but was not taking coupons.
A staff member inside referred questions to the company’s corporate office and quickly asked reporters to leave.
In the mostly empty parking lot outside, shoppers such as Dereck Shrader came and went. He says he worked at another nearby Marsh in high school. That store closed in May.
“Marsh has been an Indiana staple for years, as long as I know, but so was Jewel when I was a kid and Jewel’s not around anymore either,” Shrader says. “It’s harder for these stores to compete, I believe, with the Meijers and the Walmarts.”
Shrader’s family is among those that buys groceries at Walmart. He says he drove by the Lafayette Marsh on his way home, and stopped for a gallon of milk and some soda.
Carolyn Payne, a recent transplant from Oregon, had a shopping cart full of meat, ice cream and yogurt in white plastic bags.
She says the Lafayette Marsh was her grocery store for two months, and she’s not sure where she’ll shop once it closes.
“I was really disappointed,” she says, adding that she’d “really” hoped the store would be one that found a buyer and stayed open.
The company says in a statement that liquidation sales at all 18 closing Marsh stores will last “until the inventory is sold, most likely in early July.”