Norcross-based AtlantaFresh Artisan Dairy closes, lays off 32 after Whole Foods contract cancelled – Atlanta Business Chronicle

A Norcross, Ga., yogurt manufacturing company is closing its doors and laying off workers, and its founder blames the cancellation of a Whole Foods Market contract.

AtlantaFresh Artisan Creamery is among 20 Georgia companies that are part of Whole Foods Market’s local vendor program. It produces Greek yogurt and milk products.

AtlantaFresh founder Ron Marks said he recently laid off 32 employees after Whole Foods canceled its contract with AtlantaFresh early. "Literally overnight, we went from a $7 million to a $1 million company," he told WABE.

“It’s just torn my heart out. I’ve really been on an emotional roller coaster, especially since the decision was made that we need to shut down the company,” Marks said. “Even going through phases of sadness and anger going back to phases of denial that this really isn’t happening.”

In a email to Atlanta Business Chronicle, a Whole Food Market spokesperson said, “Local products are fundamental to Whole Foods Market, and we work closely with each of our suppliers to try to create successful relationships. We are always excited to bring new local products to our stores and customers, but, unfortunately, not all products meet sales expectations. When that occurs, we have ongoing conversations with the supplier to try to improve sales. In this case, we also made significant efforts across the business to increase sales, including in-store marketing, paid advertising, special promotions and expanded distribution. Despite our efforts, we are not always able to raise demand and we must occasionally make the difficult decision to discontinue products.”

Marks said he was grateful for customers’ support. Read more here.

Here is the company’s Facebook post about the closure.

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