VERO BEACH – Hale Groves will close its Wabasso location and relocate the company in Vero Beach this fall.
When company insiders told Sebastian Daily Hale Groves was relocating to Vero Beach, it was hard for us to believe it.
Insiders say some employees were promised a $100 bonus if they stay on during the move. And others say the warehouse in Wabasso is “falling apart” and in need of immediate repairs.
It’s been over 70 years since the company opened its fruit stand in Wabasso, and selling fruit and citrus alongside U.S. Highway 1 has been a local tradition.
“As we celebrate our 70th anniversary, we are planning to open a new visitor center at our packinghouse in Vero Beach. The Wabasso location will be permanently closing at the end of July,” the company said in a statement.
Through the years, business has changed, and the Internet made it possible to sell citrus online and through mail order catalogs.
The retail store in Wabasso was also the original location of the company’s packinghouse, but that moved to downtown Vero Beach and then west in 1999.
The company says the move is to unite all operations for Hale Groves. But some locals don’t see the move as convenient and question if the company will still sell to locals.
Even so, company executives say the new visitor’s center and retail store will be closer to downtown Vero than the current store in Wabasso.
“We want to sincerely thank the community for supporting us over the years and we look forward to this new and exciting chapter,” the company said.
Also, the company wants to attract new customers traveling on I-95 who want to stop in for some fresh juice. Hale Groves also wants all visitors to see the entire operation, and not just part of it.
The store in Vero Beach will offer fresh juice, citrus, gift baskets, jams, jellies, honey and ice cream.
Hale Groves will close its store in Wabasso at the end of July. The 1650 90th Avenue location will be ready this fall, and the company expects to be back at Farmer’s Market Oceanside in September.
“Please look for our tent every Saturday at the Oceanside Farmer’s Market (starting in September),” according to its website.