Sweet Clover Market in Essex to Close | Food News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Sweet Clover Market in Essex to Close


Published February 13, 2024 at 1:43 p.m.
Updated February 14, 2024 at 11:11 a.m.

Sweet Clover Market - MELISSA PASANEN
  • Melissa Pasanen
  • Sweet Clover Market

After 17 and a half years in business, co-owner Heather Belcher of Sweet Clover Market has announced that she will close the small independent grocery store, located at 21 Essex Way in the Essex Experience, by the end of February.

Belcher, 51, co-owns Sweet Clover with her partner, Shane Desautels, but she was the hands-on owner, she said. The couple's daughter, Maya Desautels, now 20, grew up in the store, Belcher said.

The business had been listed for sale since November 2020, when Belcher hired a general manager and stepped away from day-to-day operations to take another full-time job. It was a hard decision to close, but "businesses need continuous innovation," Belcher said. While she saw opportunities to fill local demand for to-go lunches and prepared foods offerings, she didn't feel she was the one to pursue those. "I had all the ideas but didn't have the energy and tolerance for financial risk," she said.

Belcher said she never aspired to open additional locations of Sweet Clover or expand beyond the market's 3,600 square feet. For a "single-location natural foods retail store, the profitability just isn't very robust," she acknowledged.

Given the "hiring challenges in today's climate" and the February 28 expiry of her current lease, Belcher said, closing the store made sense.

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