Friday, April 24, 2009

Sprouts plans North Austin store

Sprouts Farmer’s Market plans to open a North Austin location later this year in the space vacated by Borders in the Great Hills Station shopping center at the corner of Research Blvd. and Great Hills Trail. The Phoenix-based grocery retailer is also opening locations in Rollingwood, Sunset Valley and Round Rock in 2009.

Sprouts is part of the discount natural food niche that targets those of us living downmarket from Whole Foods Market. The chain was founded in 2002 by the family of Henry Boney, who started the business that became Henry’s Farmer’s Market in 1943 as a street corner peach stand in San Diego.

In 1999, Henry’s was acquired by Boulder, Colo.-based Wild Oats along with San Antonio’s Sun Harvest. Wild Oats co-founder Mike Gililland started Sunflower Farmer’s Market (branded as Newflower in Texas) in 2002. Then Whole Foods bought Wild Oats in 2007 in a transaction that incurred the wrath of federal antitrust regulators, but not before jettisoning Henry’s and Sun Harvest to California-based Smart and Final. Jeez, that’s more incestuous than our local music scene.

Sprouts’ newly announced Great Hills location should keep North Austinites from smarting too much about having to drive way the hell south to get to Newflower. And no, I don’t know when or if we’ll ever get a Trader Joe’s here.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Ugh. I think I need a visual to understand all that. But it does explain why the new Newflower by my house is so disappointingly similar to Sun Harvest.