More Grocery Store News: Sprouts Begins Takeover of Sunflower Farmers Market

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Back in March, Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Markets announced the purchase of Sunflower Farmers Markets. They officially closed on the deal about a month ago and now Sprouts-labeled products are beginning to trickle onto the shelves of the Sunflower at 1800 N. Henderson Ave.

Eventually all the Sunflower stores will be completely rebranded under the Sprouts name. The stores will receive new interior and exterior, signage and an expanded merchandise mix.

Sprouts President Doug Sanders said they're hoping to merge the best lines from both stores.

"There's only so much space in the stores for merging products that work really well at each store" said Sanders. "So, some products might drop out of the set. The merger just closed about a month ago and our goal is to understand all the products that do well and what overlaps. We have to understand that before we make changes."

Sanders expects the process to take up to a year. The local Sunflower Farmers Market transition to Sprouts should be complete in mid-August and will include a mini re-grand opening.

As we reported earlier, Green Grocers, a new high-end organic market is opening about a mile north of Sprouts/Sunflower Market. And even closer, Trader Joe's is slated to open in the old Arcadia spot in the spring of 2013 and Walmart Neighborhood Market is supposed to open this fall.

As for all the neighborly competition, Sanders isn't worried.

"If you take a step back, Sprouts opened its first store in 2005 and since then, in the greater metro area, we've opened about 12 stores," Sanders said. "When we first looked at Texas there wasn't a high availability of natural foods. And the stores that did offer them, had high prices. We came in because we felt like we offered natural foods at better prices."

Sanders feels Sprouts still has a unique place in the market.

"Especially compared to a conventional stores," Sanders said, "we still look at Dallas as a growth market."

Sprouts is opening 11 more stores in other states this year, then each year after that they expect to open as many as 20 stores per year around the country. And he absolutely expects some of those stores to open in the Dallas area.

"Given the size of the D/FW market," Sanders said, "there are still not a lot of natural foods stores in the area. We're still growing in the market and are looking for new locations in the area."

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