A Southern Season in Chapel Hill has new owner

Posted August 3, 2011

A Southern Season, a cultural and retail institution in Chapel Hill as a widely known gourmet store with some 300 employees, has new owners.

Founder Michael Barefoot, who opened the store in 1975, sold it to a group of local investors. TC Capital Fund, formed by Carrboro Capital Corporation and Tryon Capital, is the owner.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The sale was finalized on Aug. 1, according to a press release.

A Southern Season also publishes a catalog and sells goods nationwide through e-commerce.

Barefoot will remain involved in A Southern Season for the next five years, he said in a statement.

Veteran financier and entrepreneur Clay Hamner, who is part of Carrboro Capital Corporation, is a long-time customer of the store and said he plans to expand the business.

“We are pleased to join forces with the A Southern Season team and help the company continue to build upon its core tenants of educating about food and creating a one-of-a kind, entertaining shopping experience that exceeds customers’ expectations,” Hamner said.

“We will re-invest significantly to grow the business, including enhancing the retail shopping experience, expanding existing product lines and bringing in new products to surprise and delight our customers, as well as expanding and enhancing our online shopping experience,” he added.

Larry Shaw, a veteran executive at Nordstrom and The Vermont Country Store, takes over as president of A Southern Season. He lives in Chapel Hill.


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  • DeerHeart Aug 4, 2011

    Why would any of you guys have so much negativity about this? Maybe I'm just too optimistic but it seems like everyone wins if this is successful. -A guy who grew his own business to a huge success gets rewarded and no longer has to worry about downturn of business -A community gets a better business with more capital to improve -An investment team has a brand with great potential to expand and give notice to our area.
    So why so negative?

  • atsirk58 Aug 3, 2011

    I have to say...if the new guy has Vermont Country store experience..look out. That store has some of the highest shipping charges in the industry. definitely not impressed.

  • turkeydance Aug 3, 2011

    having been involved in four local buy-outs,
    here's how all of them finally worked out:
    1. local boy does good. local boy gets old and sells.
    2. new boy slashes costs to improve the bottom line.
    3. new 'sucker' believes new boy and buys it. the end.
    all this happened within a 4 to 6 year span.

  • ncguy Aug 3, 2011

    We will re-invest significantly to grow the business

    grow business in chapel hill- ya right!

  • cjspeaks Aug 3, 2011

    why so negative andy2? When the contract was written up I am sure Barefoot approved of the potential changes, if he didn't I am 100 percent sure he wouldn't have sold. He will still be involved for the next five years, so let's think good things about change, beside change is maybe what Chapel Hill need, and not to mention University Mall(if you can call it a mall) may profit from the change.

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman Aug 3, 2011

    Surprising!!! I hope it doesn't change, but when one transfers ownership like this, it usually does.

  • thefensk Aug 3, 2011

    Well, good luck to Michael. He built that store from basically nothing. His vision and focus really did build a landmark. I worked part time for A Southern Season for almost nine years and found it an awesome organization to be a part of.

  • andy2 Aug 3, 2011

    Another landmark in the toilet.