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by Jordan Green

THE FRESH MARKET GOES PUBLIC

The Fresh Market, a Greensboro-based grocery chain, filed an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month, offering shares for sale from the Berry family. All the proceeds will go to the family. Founded by Ray and Beverly Berry, the Fresh Market opened its first store in Greensboro in 1982. The high-end grocery chain emphasizes “premium perishables” and interiors “designed to delight our customers’ senses with an aesthetically pleasing environment.” The company currently operates 95 stores in 19 states, mostly in the Southeast, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region, and reports its sales increased 8 percent from 2008 to 2009, to $861.9 million. Having tripled its store count since 2000, the company plans to continue expanding and boasts that the US market can support at least 500 stores in the current format. The SEC document states that after the consummation of the offering, “the Berry family will continue to have substantial control over us and will maintain the ability to control the election of directors.” — JG

CITY COMES THROUGH WITH LOAN FOR BUSINESS INCUBATOR

The Greensboro City Council has approved a $1.2 million low interest loan to the Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship to help defray costs for the business incubator’s move from Revolution Mill to its new home in the Carolina Steel building on South Elm Street. City spokesman Jim Collins characterized the loan rate as “low interest” and the repayment schedule as “a fairly generous period of time.” Since its founding in 1987, Nussbaum Center President Sam Funchess said businesses supported by the center have created 1,301 jobs with an average compensation of $49,000. Council members balked at an initial request for a grant to pay for renovation of Carolina Steel and allow the center to vacate its current home in Revolution Mill. — JG

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