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Shoppers at the bfresh grocery store on Tuesday. (Photo: Marc Levy)

The 11,000-square-foot bfresh grocery store in the heart of Davis Square closes Oct. 12, and there’s been no announcement to the community what will replace it.

“Stop & Shop has made the difficult decision not to renew the lease for our bfresh store,” said Caroline Medeiros, external and corporate communications manager for sibling grocery chain Stop & Shop. “The store was not meeting financial expectations.”

After the Oct. 12 closing, all workers “will be given the opportunity to transfer to other Stop & Shop locations” such as those in Arlington, Watertown, Medford and Malden, Medeiros said.

City staff were unaware Tuesday about the closing. Economic development officials had “not heard from the bfresh owner in any official capacity about closing the Davis Square location,” a spokesperson said. “We are unable to provide comment on a rumored closure of a privately owned business.”

Update on Sept. 25, 2023: The property owner is working on “re-tenanting the space and has had interest from other grocers,” economic development director Rachel Nadkarni said through a city spokesperson.

The store opened in February 2017, and at 6.6 years the 244 Elm St. site will have been the longest-lived of a small chain founded in 2015 as Fresh Formats. Owner Ahold – also the corporate parent of Stop & Shop – hoped it would become a regional group of smaller, urban stores with healthier food at lower prices, but the other bfresh stores in Allston and Brighton closed in 2017 and 2019, respectively, with Ahold telling media that sales weren’t meeting financial expectations there either.

The store had a 10-year lease when it filled a former Social Security office space empty since August 2010, but that began before opening, Medeiros suggested. The building needed renovations, as its facade began crumbling dangerously in June 2015. Former Fresh Formats spokesperson Saskia de Jongh said Ahold made a “substantial investment” in the store too.

The overall 240 Elm St. location, which also has an office co-working space and cannabis shop, has been owned since a $39 million deal in 2022 by Asana Partners, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based real estate investment firm. The seller was Charles River Realty, of Boston.

Asana is undertaking a 120,000-square-foot redevelopment project a block away known as 7th Spoke that is causing businesses to relocate ahead of construction, but nothing has been heard publicly about the project since late 2022.

Across the street from bfresh is what will be Davis Square’s sole remaining grocery store, McKinnon’s Meat Market, which itself is threatened by a development project by a company called Scape North America. That project is expected to uproot businesses from The Burren to Dragon Pizza along Elm Street to Grove Street, but its timeline is equally unclear.

A worker at McKinnon’s said Tuesday that they didn’t know when that store might close and had heard no plans it would replace bfresh – where commenters online are hoping to see either a Trader Joe’s or a branch of the Asian supermarket chain H Mart. A message was left Tuesday at the Lyndhurst, New Jersey, offices of H Mart.

“Even just the rumor of an H Mart coming to Davis is making me feel like I’m coming up on molly,” a Reddit user said.


This post was updated Sept. 21, 2023, with comment from the City of Somerville.


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H Mart is coming to Davis Square to replace bfresh