February 2, 2016
The opening of a second Sprouts Farmers Market in El Paso was a big hit. About 300 people were lined up outside the healthy-foods supermarket at 2036 N. Zaragoza on the far East Side when it opened at 7 a.m., Wednesday, said Amber Chapman, senior marketing manager for the Phoenix-based chain. Checkout lines stretched from the back of the store to the 11 checkout registers at the front of the store for most of the day. “This is busier than usual” for a store opening, Chapman said. “I guess East El Paso has been waiting for us.” Ted Frumkin, Sprouts chief development officer, said the West El Paso store is one of the top-performing stores in the rapidly growing, 222-store chain “I think this will rival it (West Side store) in sales,” Frumkin said inside the packed store.
It’s located in a River Oaks Properties shopping center with a new Petco pet-supply store and Specs liquor store, and where a Gander Mountain outdoor sporting goods store opened last May. A Home Depot has operated at the location for several years. The number of East Side residents shopping at the West Side store, and the demographics of the sprawling East Side neighborhoods surrounding Zaragoza and Joe Battle, convinced company officials to expand in this market, Frumkin said. Veronica McDonald, 33, said having the store about 10 minutes from her home beats the more than 30-minute drive she sometimes took to the West Side Sprouts. “I like the natural (food) products. I like to eat better,” McDonald said. She waited more than an hour to get checked out - a wait she didn’t mind, she said. Lorenzo Aguirre, 32, who said he and his wife shopped at the West Side Sprouts about once a month, said the new Sprouts is exactly what the East Side needs. “I like the variety, especially the options with organic fruits and other foods,” he said as he waited in one of the long checkout lines while his wife pushed a stroller carrying their 8-month-old daughter.
The 28,000 square-foot store, which employs about 100 people, is almost identical to the slightly larger West Side location at 655 Sunland Park. That store opened in January 2014 after relocating from a smaller, Mesa Street location Sprouts inherited in 2011 after buying the Henry’s Farmers Market/Sun Harvest Farmers Market chain. The East Side store, like the West Side location, has a large, colorful produce section, large bulk-foods section with nuts and other items, large vitamin section, and a deli with a sandwich bar and fresh juice bar. A salad bar and coffee bar will be added later. Sprouts’ stores aren’t as large as many of its supermarket competitors because its research has found “customers don’t want a big store,” Frumkin said. “They want to get in and out. Customers say they can get out in 20 to 30 minutes.” Sprouts officials may look at further expansion in El Paso after the East Side store has operated about a year, Frumkin said. “This could be a three- to four-store market,” Frumkin projected. The company added 70 stores from 2013 to 2015, and plans to add 36 this year, Frumkin said. Besides the new El Paso store, it also opened another store in Atlanta on Wednesday. It now operates 222 stores in 13 states, he said.
Sprouts had sales of just under $3 billion in 2014, the latest full-year data available.
More information: sprouts.com
Vic Kolenc may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 546-6421; @vickolenc on Twitter.