Could a Sprouts Farmer’s Market Make Its Way to Decatur?

I don’t mean to start another Trader Joe’s style beg-fest thread, but according to a DM reader, Sprouts Farmer’s Market out of California may soon “take Atlanta by storm”.  An article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle last October documented Sprouts move east and recent scouting around Atlanta

Arizona-based Sprouts Farmers Markets LLC is scouting sites in the area, according to people familiar with the company’s expansion efforts.

The grocer recently was named No. 1 on a list of 100 “hot” retailers (ranked by sales growth) from Stores Media, the publishing arm of the National Retail Federation.

It seems like every larger scale mixed use development in Decatur starts out by talking about adding a “grocery store”, but the next question is always “Which one?”  Publix and Kroger are already rather prevalent in the area and Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have made it clear that the area doesn’t work for them.  Perhaps Sprouts could be the answer.  Or perhaps not…

The chain is focused on entering upper income areas. Cities along Georgia 400, such as Sandy Springs, Alpharetta or Roswell, and along the Peachtree Industrial Boulevard corridor, including Chamblee, Johns Creek or Duluth, could be targeted, insiders say. The target demographic is people ages 25 and older, especially the Gen Y consumer.

I guess we’ll see!

51 thoughts on “Could a Sprouts Farmer’s Market Make Its Way to Decatur?”

  1. Would be great to have one ITP, but I’d be surprised if it’s anywhere other than Buckhead (if that close). I like surprises, though.

  2. I checked out their website – they are currently in CA, AZ, TX, CO, OK. Looks like mostly in suburban locations, with large parking lots in front (similar to Trader Joes M.O.). We might be more likely to get a Savi Urban Market, a local company, who is rapidly expanding and familiar with intown locations, as their name suggests.

      1. There’s a Savi in Brookhaven, on Dresden. The website says a new store is coming soon to “Emory,” so I assume that would cover the Decatur area.

        1. Huh. INteresting. For all the folks that long told me that a small grocery couldn’t make it in downtown Decatur due to lack of density, seems like Savi is bucking the trend. Probably because half their retail space is alcohol, but still, their food selection is pretty decent.

          1. Tomorrow’s News Today just said they are planning to open in Vinings too – this will be their 4th location – Inman Park, Brookhaven, Buckhead, and now Vinings. If they do Decatur area, I wonder if they really mean Decatur, or Emory Point.

  3. I have shopped at one in Boulder and would describe it as a crunchier, smaller version of Whole Foods, but not as crunchy as Sevenanda or Rainbow Foods. In fact it would probably give Rainbow the most competition in Decatur. Definitely see the market for it here.

  4. Any news on the Candler Park Mkt in OA? or the Pub? That lot does not seem to be progressing.

    1. According to the pub owners, they’re shopping general contractors to do the buildout. No timeline that I’ve seen.

      The site needs the parking lots and storm water mitigation done before the market can get underway.

  5. These conversations about which national chain retailer people want to invite in here always amuse me. It is essentially a Pepsi vs. Coke conversation about people’s brand preferences.

    Meanwhile this town is thriving because of the local entrepreneurs like the Brickstore Guys, like Mark Brennan, like the Oakhurst Community Garden founders, like the owners of Twains and Greene’s and Squash Blossom…

    Here’s a quote from the Sprouts website:

    “In 2007, Whole Foods Market, Inc. purchased Wild Oats and sold the Henry’s stores to Smart & Final Holdings Corp., which in turn was purchased by Apollo Management, one of the world’s largest private equity firms.

    In 2011, Apollo bought a controlling interest in the 63-store Sprouts, and Smart & Final sold Henry’s to Sprouts…effectively reuniting two companies that had been founded by the same family, years apart. At the time, Henry’s was operating 43 total store locations, comprised of 34 stores in California and nine stores in Texas operating under the Sun Harvest banner.”

    I can’t even really follow that, but I don’t think it means we’d get another business that sponsors our high school girls softball teams and concerts on the square.

    They are interested in suburban markets where there is almost no local entrepreneurship and no “real” alternative grocers to expose their phoniness. They are not interested in a place like Decatur, and Decatur shouldn’t be interested in an enterprise like them.

    1. So, if you pine for a national chain to up the larger grocery store game in Decatur, you’re a laughable ninnymuggins who doesn’t appreciate local businesses enough?

    2. “but I don’t think it means we’d get another business that sponsors our high school girls softball teams and concerts on the square.”
      Those demon mega-chains, if only they would set up a page where locals can request community donations, we would know they are worthy of us. Oh wait:

      1. Nice try, but I never called them demon mega-chains. Reasonable people understand the point that locally owned businesses are more a part of the fabric and growth of a community than a national chain.

          1. Who said it was an either/or? Certainly not me. I was just noting that there are a lot of conversations about style (Trader Joes vs. Wal Mart) when the substance of Decatur is local.

  6. I would love for a national chain that is superior to Kroger to take over the little Kroger space. Leaving aside the unlikelihood of Kroger leaving, I can’t think of any national chains that would find the space suitable, and I would certainly not be interested in adding parking to accommodate one.

    1. In my experience, the folks who appreciate the downtown Kroger the most are the ones who’ve been around long enough to remember the A&P. By that measure, it’s the greatest grocery establishment in the history of the world.

      1. Those are the same kind of people who appreciate the Family Dollar because they remember the old Big H and can compare it to that, rather than the Trader Joe’s that they irrationally crave.

    2. the little Teeter was great- and always managed to be much cleaner that current little Kroger. However, I do appreciate and use little Kroeger. It is really nice to have a quick jaunt to a store that has most necessities without going to the crazy parking lots of Publix or (any) Big Kroger.

    3. That Kroger space would be perfect for one of those mini-Walmarts like the one proposed for GA Tech.

  7. I definitely appreciate the downtown Kroger (even though I don’t recall what the A&P was like). As someone who walks there to shop frequently, I consider it a near-miracle that a store with as wide a selection as Kroger is located in such a small urban area.
    IMHO, Decatur is well set when it comes to food options, whether it be restaurants, farmers markets, or conventional stores. What we need are things to do. Decatur would be an ideal place for something like Cine in Athens. I’ve also always thought Decatur would be a fantastic location for the Shakespeare Tavern, if they ever relocated.

    1. Re the Little Kroger: The self-service stations seem to be creating, not reducing, the need for staff. I’d say that only 1 of 3 customers can handle the self-service process without assistance and that’s only looking at customers with less than ~15 items. I haven’t had less than 15 items in my cart since children arrived. Are cashiers going to disappear the way of bookstores, full service gas pumps, and blacksmiths?

      1. No, cashiers are not going to disappear. When the Publix at East Lake renovated within the past year, I asked the manager when the self-service lanes would be installed and was told they were not putting them there, and will likely be phasing them out at the locations that have them now. I was personally disappointed to hear that. Assume it’s because the self-service lanes have turned out to need the same or more staff engagement as regular lanes, because of confused/inept customers, glitchy technology, pilfering, or some combination of those factors. The main reason I love self-service lanes is that I prefer to bag my own groceries and ensure that jars of pickles and blocks of cheese land on the bottom with tomatoes and bananas on top.

        1. I’m with you there. I always prefer self-checkout because I’m faster than the vast majority of cashiers. It still irks me that WFM eliminated it at all of their stores. Publix was a very late adopter of self-checkout, so it doesn’t surprise me that it’s going away. Mainstream supermarkets believe it is a hindrance to their core customer base (read: aging). Millennials often don’t understand why anyone would want to shop at a traditional supermarket, so markets have been encouraged to ignore younger shoppers in favor of old-school ones they understand. Obviously places like TJs, Sprouts, YDFM, BHFM, and WFM are more than happy to have the younger shoppers.

          1. “Obviously places like TJs, Sprouts, YDFM, BHFM, and WFM are more than happy to have the younger shoppers.”

            Except, with the possible exception of Sprouts, none of those you mention have self-checkout at all, at least not the locations around here.

      2. I have never had more than TEN items at the Mini Kroger checkout. Even if I have a list of 30 items, they won’t have at least 20 of them! I don’t even try any more, and go straight to the Toco Hills store even if I only need two items.

          1. If the DeKalb Ave store had a kosher section, I’d probably go there instead of Toco Hill. But until they at least start selling Ba-Tampte garlic dills, I’ll drive extra half mile 😉

    2. +1 on something like Cine in Athens. I don’t know about the economic viability of that in Decatur, however.Having developed much of my appreciation of film at places like the Anthology Film Archives in NYC and the Uniondale Mini-Cinema on Long Island, where you could see art house movies, foreign movies classics, and even experimental films, and where the programs changed several times a week, I really yearn for the chance once more in my life to see Animal Crackers or Son of Paleface in a room full of people and the smell of popcorn, even though I have about 400 flicks on my streaming Netflix queue.

  8. Never understood the Kroger haters, but I suspect most of them are people who don’t have to worry about prices and never clipped a coupon in their lives.

    1. I don’t understand people who hate Kroger either. At the same time, I don’t understand anyone who does *not* hate the Mini Kroger!

      1. I love the baby Kroger. It is convenient and surprisingly well-stocked for such a small space. Yes, the line is longer with the new checkout setup, but it moves along at good clip. They also seem to have the same pricing/sale items as the big Kroger, so I never feel like I’m paying a premium for convenience. I remember the A&P and Harris Teeter, and I think Kroger has done the best job of the three with that location.

        1. It’s just a long-running joke in our house. Whenever we need one or two things and try to get them there, they invariably seem to be out of at least one of them and we end up at the big Kroger anyway!

    2. Oh can we have the old, is Publix actually more expensive than Kroger convo again?? As avid clippers, we don’t find Publix any more expensive than Kroger. But there are those who fiercely believe that Kroger is cheaper. I’ve had some good battles, on and off line about it! Anyone up for a go-round?

      1. Kroger is cheaper, Bubba! With a few exceptions, Kroger is about 5% to 15% cheaper. But then there are a few strange exceptions, like mozzarella cheese (even when they don’t have a 2-fer on Polly-O or Sargento, Publix is still a dollar or more cheaper per pound block of it). And some of the Publix BOGOs are really good deals. And yes, I’ve thought way too much about this. And yes, the Mrs makes fun of me for checking all the circulars, using coupons and then going to Kroger, Publix AND YDFM…

        1. It might just be a difference in purchases, because I always feel like I spend more at Kroger and that the deals aren’t as good. But I might be a bit scarred by the Kroger out Memorial that we used to frequent back when we lived out by the jail. Employees were nicer, but we picked up one too many expired pieces of meat over the years…

  9. I find that Kroger usually has more items on sale than Publix, and Kroger also sends lots of good coupons in the mail. I do prefer the experience at Publix though. But if you want a new appreciation for both, spend some time in a town that has only Piggly Wiggly, Winn-Dixie, and Food Lion.

    1. I find the East Lake Publix to be my favorite grocery shopping experience in my 25 years of living in the area. That neighborhood has a lot to be grateful to Tom Cousins for. I just hate seeing all those trees being torn up on Charlie Yates Golf Course for the Drew High School.

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