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    Marsh Ends Contract With State Fair, Other Local Organs

    INDIANAPOLIS -- Amid a series of dramatic cost-cutting initiatives aimed at improving its financial performance as it readies for a possible sale, Marsh Supermarkets here is ending its longstanding corporate sponsorship of the Indiana State Fair.

    INDIANAPOLIS -- Amid a series of dramatic cost-cutting initiatives aimed at improving its financial performance as it readies for a possible sale, Marsh Supermarkets here is ending its longstanding corporate sponsorship of the Indiana State Fair.

    According to local reports, the grocery chain exercised an option to end its six-year, $175,000 contract with the Indiana State Fair two years early for the naming rights for the fair's Grandstand, Blue Ribbon Pavilion and Agriculture-Horticulture Building.

    The Indianapolis-based company also sponsored the State Fair Gardens through a subsidiary, McNamara Florist, and the "Little Hands on the Farm" exhibit, which allows children to learn about farm chores and how food and clothing get from fields to stores. McNamara purchased Fort Wayne's Sand Point Greenhouse on DeForest Avenue.

    Marsh has also cut donations to the Salvation Army and Lighthouse Mission, and will continue reviewing all charitable donations made to other community organizations.

    Last week, the financially strapped chain's board of directors removed several top executives who are also members of the Marsh family while also announcing the closure of eight stores and a restaurant.

    The major restructuring follows a steady stream of similar efforts to improve profitability that got underway in November 2005, when Marsh revealed it was seeking "strategic alternatives," including a possible sale.

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