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The front of The Farmacy sits a picnic bench, community flyers and a free book stand. The local grocery store which is set to close down, is located on Stimson Ave, in Athens, Ohio. Nov. 03, 2023.

The Farmacy closes its doors to Athens

After over 50 years of serving the Athens community, The Farmacy Natural and Specialty Foods announced Nov. 1, via a Facebook post, it would soon be closing its doors. 

Kevin and Carrie Tidd have owned the store for 13 years after buying it from its previous owners in 2011. 

Although there isn’t a singular reason for the store’s closing, Carrie Tidd said The Farmacy has been struggling financially for years, and the COVID-19 pandemic did not make things easier. 

“What didn't get affected by COVID?” Kevin Tidd said. "We were just starting to get our momentum back from that when the city decided to do a couple-year project out here ... We never came back from COVID."

According to a previous Post report, the Stimson Avenue construction began in 2021 amid the pandemic. The project limited access to The Farmacy, so people stopped shopping at the store, Carrie Tidd said. 

“The road was shut down,“ Carrie Tidd said. "Sometimes both sides of the road, sometimes just one side of the road. Even when it wasn't shut down, it was torn up. I mean, every day the people that did come in were complaining about their cars being torn up and you couldn't get into the parking lot.”

Kevin Tidd said the store lost half a million dollars during the construction project.

During the lockdown, the store started offering free delivery to buyers within the Athens City limits and sometimes even beyond the city limits, Carrie Tidd said. 

However, even offering delivery services to people had difficulties because of big-name competitors like Walmart, Kroger and Amazon, Kevin Tidd said. 

Carrie Tidd said there is a lot of competition in the natural food realm, and she said even other local Athens businesses were difficult to compete with. 

The Tidds have always tried to support local businesses when they can, and the products in their store are no exception. 

The Blaney Family Farm has been selling vegetables to the store since Adam Blaney and his family opened their farm in February 2019. The Farmacy was their third official buyer.

“We had no income basically,“ Blaney said. "We were just growing, hoping, you know. We started selling at the farmer's market, but we didn't have anything else. We just took a bunch of lettuce in and asked if (The Farmacy) were interested, and they were the first people to say ‘Sure,’ and they've been a customer since.”

Blaney said The Farmacy received deliveries once or twice a week with vegetables from the local farm. These deliveries included tomatoes, lettuce and spinach. 

Although the farm is losing a customer, Blaney said the closing of The Farmacy may not affect the farm monetarily, but it does create a disconnect with the farm’s customers who buy the farm’s products at The Farmacy. 

“I think probably the biggest effect on the community will just be the loss of a good, local business to contribute to the economy and to contribute to just goodwill among people,” Blaney said. 

Robert Fedyski has been in the Athens area for about 50 years. When he heard The Farmacy was closing, he posted a comment under the announcement from the store.

“I'm very sorry to read this," Fedyski wrote. “The Farmacy has been an Athens point of pride for many years. I've always enjoyed our interactions and wish you the best in wherever your future guides you. Love and respect to you and your family.”

Fedyski is a retired chef and culinary arts instructor, and while he was working for Rural Action, a nonprofit organization serving Appalachian Ohio, he worked with the Tidds to buy vegetables for the store. 

“They wanted to get local produce,“ Fedyski said. "They wanted to make sure it was sustainability harvested, that there weren’t a lot of chemicals, that there weren’t a lot of GMOs. I knew what they were looking for. I could buy products knowing I could suit their needs.” 

Fedyski was in the store about two to three times a week during the time he was working with the Tidds. 

When the pandemic hit, he stopped shopping there for safety concerns. Despite being outside The Farmacy’s normal delivery limits, they delivered groceries to him anyway. 

“It’s that extra thing that makes a difference,” Fedyski said. “They know their customers.”

The Tidds said they have a couple of options when it comes to the future, including continuing to sell their products through their website for a while. Though they are not yet certain what exactly their next steps will be, they are sure they are not ready to let The Farmacy meet its end. 

For updates about The Farmacy’s future, leave your name, email address and social media on the store’s website, Facebook, Instagram or in-store.


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