Sprouts Farmers Market to open in Sunnyvale

June 1, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
In this economy, welcoming a new company to the Bay Area is a big deal. That's just what's happening Wednesday morning when a grocery chain opens its doors in Sunnyvale.

The Bay Area is getting its first glimpse at one of the nation's fastest growing retailers. Sprouts Farmers Market has opened 50 stores in eight years, 13 in Southern California. Sunnyvale marks a significant geographic debut.

"It's a big win for us to have this store opening up here and choosing this as their first Northern California location," says Sunnyvale Mayor Melinda Hamilton.

The city's El Camino Real corridor has a retail vacancy rate of 12 percent. When Circuit City went bankrupt last year, it left behind a 30,000 square foot space where Sprouts has taken root.

"That's definitely helped us grow especially during the recession, the amount of quality real estate on the market right now," says Sprouts president Doug Sanders.

The store opening means jobs in a city with nearly 11 percent unemployment. Sprouts hired 100 local workers including Armando Ramos who says this is not just a paycheck, it's a career.

"It's a young company that's growing very quickly, so I'm very excited to be here," says Ramos.

Sprouts Farmers Market bills itself as affordable healthy food and says the area's rich farming history makes this a perfect fit. The company just announced a partnership with Sunnyvale's Full Circle Farm.

The 11 acre non-profit organic farm serves the community and is an outdoor classroom for school children. Customers say the store's focus is what's needed for a new generation.

"My grandparents were farmers in this area since 1919, so I'm thrilled that we have country store in the area again," says Sunnyvale resident Nancy Talesfore.

A vacant store -- once a sign of the recession -- has new life. Sprouts opens to the public Wednesday 7 a.m.


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