United Commercial Realty
Sprouts Working 20-Store Expansion Plan for Metroplex9.20.2005- Connie Gore - Globe St.
DALLAS-With the first Sprouts open in North Texas, the Scottsdale, AZ-based niche grocer is hot on the trail to add more locations while using the metroplex as a testing ground in its first expansion push outside its homeport.
Seth Brown, vice president of new store development for Sprouts Farmers Market LLC, tells GlobeSt.com that the Dallas/Fort Worth business plan calls for eight stores to be open by the end of 2007 and 20 when all is said and done. If the North Texas rollout continues to meet expectations, the innovative grocer will take its product to other metros in the state, he says. By 2010, the present 11-store chain plans to be operating 50 locations.
The lone Texas store at 4100 Legacy Dr. in Plano has outdistanced preliminary projections. "It has opened up ahead of expectations. When it matures, it will be doing 25% more than the average of our store base," Brown says. "We made a bet when we opened up that store." The success to date has the grocer working on a store for Flower Mound and negotiating for a site in Carrollton while its United Commercial Realty/ChainLinks scout, Jean Smith, prospects for additional locations.
"We exhaustively researched where we wanted to go," Brown says. "Dallas/Fort Worth has a high degree of educated people with disposable income that equates to the San Diego and Orange County markets, which is where we were very successful with Henry's Market." The demographics coupled with the low cost of real estate shored up the decision to test the North Texas waters before anyplace else.
A Sprouts store runs from 26,000 sf to 32,000 sf Its location criteria requires a high-parking ratio because the norm is 12,000 customers per week and 100 employees per store, according to Brown. Aside from a hard corner foothold, parking sells the site, he stresses.
Nearing its third anniversary, Sprouts is the concept of industry veterans with more than 70 years of combined experience. The grocer specializes in farm-fresh produce, bought from local growers if possible. It also features vitamins, supplements, all-natural meats, fresh seafood, bulk foods and imported cheeses in an indoor farmers market setting with low shelving and wide aisles. Brown says Sprouts' low prices are what distinguish the concept from its specialty competitors.