Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sprouts Farmers Market Will Grow First in Snellville + Other Market News

Phoenix, Arizona-based Sprouts Farmers Market will open one of its first Atlanta area stores early next year in Snellville.


Sprouts will replace a shuttered Ethan Allen store in The Shoppes at Webb Gin (formerly The Avenue Webb Gin).  The new store is expected to open this coming spring.

Sprouts is also reportedly in talks for an anchor space within Peachtree Corners Place.  The project, being developed by Jeff Fuqua, is located on Peachtree Parkway, across from The Forum.  The center will be built at the corner of Peachtree Parkway & Peachtree Corners Circle on vacant land, currently home to hundreds of trees.

Interestingly, Interlochen Shopping Center, adjacent to the planned Fuqua project, features a vacant grocery anchor space that once housed Bruno's and later drew interest from ALDI, but remains half vacant   For now, OfficeMax occupies about half the space.

Sprouts, which went public earlier this year, has been scouting metro Atlanta since last fall and is looking at both new construction and backfilling existing space.

A well placed source also says Spouts will be the grocery anchor for the "Sandy Springs Gateway Project." The mixed use project on Roswell Road near Windsor Parkway will have a grocery anchor, office & retail space as well as hundreds of "upscale" apartments.  

A total of four Sprouts Farmers Markets are expected to open next year with insiders saying that the company is targeting OTP cities like Johns Creek, Duluth and Alpharetta.  Interestingly, Monrovia, California-based Trader Joe's has a total of six locations in metro Atlanta but is reportedly only pleased with the financial results of their two ITP locations, in Buckhead and midtown.  Locations in Sandy Springs, East Cobb, Norcross (at The Forum) and Roswell reportedly do "ok" but not great.  The company has publicly said it has no intention of openong any additional locations in metro Atlanta any time soon.

One intown location I think would make a great fit for Sprouts, should they explore ITP locations, is the current OfficeMax at Loehmann's Plaza on North Druid Hills at Briarcliff Road.  OfficeMax recently agreed to merge with its larger competitor Office Depot, and as such is now in the process of closing underperforming and overlapping stores.  Office Depot has a location not far from Loehmann's, at Toco Hill, and it will remain open.

I'm told The Fresh Market has, at least at some point, shown interest in the Loehmann's space, but as last I checked have removed themselves from the equation and may instead be exploring space in phase 2 of Emory Point.

Asheville, North Carolina-based Earth Fare also plans to enter the Atlanta market soon and is reportedly in talks for at least two intown locations.  The company already has a presence in Georgia with locations in both Athens and Augusta.

It's worth noting that U.K.-based Tesco offloaded its fledgling U.S. grocery chain Fresh & Easy earlier this week.  The chain, which Tesco built from scratch six years ago, was a money losing venture for the British grocery powerhouse and was essentially "given" to new owner, billionaire Ron Burkle via his Yucaipa Cos. private-equity fund.  Insiders speculate and information recently uncovered would seem to support, the idea that Burkle plans to use the Fresh & Easy network of roughly 150 locations, all on the west coast, to relaunch Wild Oats.  

Burkle was Wild Oats largest shareholder when the company agreed to be purchased by Austin-based Whole Foods Market in 2007.  Due to antitrust issues, Whole Foods was forced to sell all Wild Oats intellectual property as well as a few stores.  Burkle has reportedly partnered with Jim Keyes, former President and CEO of Blockbuster (who somehow owns the Wild Oats name),  and plans to rebrand the Fresh & Easy stores under the Wild Oats banner in the coming months, with Keyes serving as the chain's CEO.  

A new Wild Oats website is already live and thus far is only promoting private label  grocery products like pasta sauces and crackers  

All in all, despite Whole Foods Market clear perch at the top of the natural supermarket pyramid, other competitors gaining ground and giving consumers more options when it comes to eating healthy.  

What is your favorite grocery store?
Where would you like to see a Sprouts or Earth Fare open?  
If Wild Oats does make a comeback, do you think they will come to Atlanta?
Please share your thoughts below.  

11 comments:

Eric Smith said...

One of these stores would be a great fit for the vacant space where N. Druid Hills ends at Peachtree Road in Brookhaven. It was previously a Harris Teeter and then a Kroger. I think Kroger still controls the lease to prevent competition, or maybe that is just a Brookhaven urban legend. It is a shame to let a good space go to waste while other sections of Brookhaven are being torn up for development.

Anonymous said...

I cannot stand Fuqua. I literally see his name and read it as "F**k-wad".

The man has no desire for good development and will slap a cheap suburban parking lot with stores anywhere he can with no regards for environment, urban planning, walk-ability, or anything else.

Atlantan99 said...

@Eric,

You are right on both. That would make a great location for Sprouts but Kroger does in fact still hold the lease and in doing so, prevents there from being any grocer open in the prime space.

I agree and think it is sad that such a large, well located space continues to go unused.


Thanks for your comments and readership.

Atlantan99 said...

@Anon,

You are not alone in your disdain for Fuqua, I assure you.

Thanks for the comments and readership.

Carl said...

Great to see progress and increased competition again in the natural products industry. I also hope this will eventually translate into town as well. Thanks for the great coverage!

Atlantan99 said...

The redeveloped Chamblee Plaza, now known as The Blee on Broad could also present a unique opportunity for Sprouts to enter the Chamblee area.

Anonymous said...

I sure hope Ron Burkle does not keep the Fresh & Easy name or format for very long.

If he does, he is in for a huge let down.

The brand (if you want to call it that) has lots of baggage.

Tesco did a wonderful job in "training" their customers to shop only with loss making coupons and buying markdown distressed merchandise instead of fresh. This and more contributed to Tesco losing over 3 billion dollars.

No one can fix that, not even the genius, Ron Burkle.

You start taking that away from the typical Fresh & Easy shopper, and you have a big problem.

Tesco's ad campaign did not help either, which was low brow, low class and insulting.

Start with a new name (Wild Oats) and do it right!

Fresh: never was

Easy: never was

A small passionate internet fan base is not enough to make a profitable business. This vociferous group of fans was not able to contribute to Fresh & Easy making a profit, no matter how Tesco tried to tweek the business.

Enough said?

Anonymous said...

Well, I only got to shop at F&E a couple of times when in California and I really liked it and hoped it would succeed and make it's way east. It wasn't meant to be a fancy pants Whole Foods or Gelson's. A better comparison would be a hybrid Trader Joe's and small format regular grocery. I'm sure they have baggage to overcome with the new owner and it will be interesting to see what happens, but I'm not sure all those locations can support a trendy organic groceteria.

Anonymous said...

I love all the people saying "First in X town" It's also coming to Smyrna, GA and a bunch of other places in the metro. More info here: http://smyrna.patch.com/groups/brians-blog/p/organic-grocer-coming-to-smyrna

Atlantan99 said...

@Anon,

You are correct, a lot of communities are trying to claim they will be home to "the first" in Georgia. Snellville stands the best chance though as its already in the works and Sprouts is retrofitting an existing space rather than building from scratch, as they are doing in Smyrna and Norcross. Smyrna for sure won't open til 2015 while Snellville is likely to open sometime in the second part of next year.

http://www.tonetoatl.com/2013/11/sprouts-farmers-market-likely-anchoring.html

Thanks for your comments and readership.

Anonymous said...

Maybe 'they', the collective grocery chain mavens, should note that their other ITP locations do so well because the rest of us have to DRIVE to them to get there or they are close to where we work. I live OTP and I have been begging for a good grocer for years. They always play into what some bean counter tells them the high end demographic is and not what the people of the area actually want or need. I don't make a lot of money any more, I am self employed, but I will not scrimp on what goes into my body. I currently have to drive 20 to 25 miles from home to get to anything that's decent, that includes Costco, Trader Joes or a Whole Paycheck, I mean Whole Foods. I'm not happy about it but I do it for my family's health.