Local food producers scramble to save money amid Marsh closures

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Local food companies are scrambling to save money as they prepare for a shutdown of all Marsh stores.

The grocery chain will close its stores if it can’t find a buyer, which would deal a blow to food producers who sell products through Marsh.

Rebecca Walter is the owner of UGO Bars, a Bloomington-based snack company. She landed a deal with Marsh and Kroger two years ago to triple her sales.

“I felt like I was playing at this whole new playing field,” Walter said.

Today, five to ten percent of her sales come from Marsh.

With the company at risk of shutting down, she’s no longer selling to the chain. Now Walter is trying to pick up new customers.

“It’s a lot of hustle on our end. We’re doing a lot of calling the individual cafes, whereas with Marsh we went through a distributor. It was all taken care of for us.”

Marsh closed dozens of stores this year, and they plan to close the rest if they can’t find a buyer. The company filed for bankruptcy this month.

The announcement also left Indiana Pork looking for a new grocery deal as Marsh is the pork producer’s biggest retailer.

“One of the strengths I saw with Marsh was that they prided themselves as being the local grocery store, and I firmly believe that’s why we sold well there,” Walter said.

Ugo Bars is a three-year-old company.

They’re still selling to Kroger, but Walter said it would take some luck to land another deal with a major retailer.

“It is sad as Marsh is a staple of Indiana grocery stores.”

Marsh said they need to sell their chain because they can’t compete with major grocery store chains.

We reached out to Marsh for comment on this story and have not heard back.

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