By Scott Nishimura firstname.lastname@example.org
It was almost as if Arlington opened its first grocery store. Shoppers early Wednesday morning jammed the newly-opened Sprouts Farmers Market at Interstate 20 and Green Oaks Boulevard, the popular Phoenix chain’s third store in Tarrant County and 17th in the Metroplex.
This wasn’t a surprise to Sprouts, which has been enjoying industry-leading sales gains in comparable stores. The company, whose stores are known for their packed assortments of conventional, organic and local produce, It’s grown to 189 stores and more than $2.5 billion in annual sales since opening in 2002.
“We’re having some great success,” Eric Stover, Sprouts divisional vice president, said in an interview just after the 7 a.m. opening of the 130-employee, 25,000-square-foot store.
Sprouts expects to continue growing in the DFW area, adding three to five stores a year here, he said.
He wasn’t naming locations Wednesday, but “we do have about three on the docket for next year in the metro area,” he said.
How far apart does Sprouts like to space its stores?
Stover: We do have areas where we’re clustered very tightly. North Dallas is clustered very tightly. But ideally, seven to 10 miles is where we can maximize the potential of a store.
How comfortable is Sprouts with this size store?
Stover: We’ve gone over 30,000. It just depends on the site. At the end of the day, this is the right size box, plus or minus a few thousand square feet. You want to have the intimacy inside the store. It’s comfortable to people.
What differences will shoppers see between this store and Sprouts’ earlier ones?
Stover: This store has (more items),taller gondolas, olive bars. The produce department is laid out just a little bit more differently, with organics having a big presence.
How much of the produce is organics?
Stover: Depending on the store, we may do 20 percent or so in organic produce. The other piece of it is just having the best quality produce.
It wasn’t too long ago we had significant consolidation in this market; now we’re headed in the other direction.
Stover: It’s a hot market, it’s always been a hot market. It’s a great place to be. There’s going to be a lot more competition coming in next year. Sprouts has been here since 2005. It’s been a very healthy market for us.
So, three to five new stores a year to what goal?
Stover: i don’t know that we have a lid to that. We’re seeing growing north. We’re seeing growth in the Rockwall area, Denton, Mansfield. i think there’s still a lot of opportunity in Tarrant County for us.
What about Camp Bowie Boulevard in Ridglea? You’ve been connected to that.
Stover: “i don’t have the official word on that. We’re looking at that, but until we assign a number to it and put it down, it’s just speculation.”