Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Sneak Peek: Sarasota's Sprouts Farmers Market

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Sneak Peek: Sarasota's Sprouts Farmers Market

Article excerpt

James Collins is eager to welcome customers to Sarasota's first Sprouts Farmers Market

The store manager and his staff have a few more boxes to unpack first.

But that hasn't stopped shoppers from trying to shop there.

After months of rumors and speculation, we're less than three weeks away from one of Southwest Florida's most anticipated retail openings of 2017. I've been taking calls and emails from readers about this grocer since I took over this column in 2015. The increasing number of curious shoppers who have tried to come into Collins' store has proven that the interest hasn't waned.

It's also setting the tone for the April 12 launch of the store at 8330 S. Tamiami Trail in Pelican Plaza across the street from Westfield Sarasota Square.

This is Sprouts' second Florida store. Doors are to open at 7 a.m., and the organic-focused, local-centric retailer usually draws crowds for these occasions. Collins' staff will be handing out coffee and muffin samples to shoppers waiting in line. The first 200 customers will receive 20 percent off their total purchase and every 15th shopper will get a special coupon book.

But we're still a ways away from that.

Peeking in through the windows from outside, you can see the soft colors and mildly rustic fixtures designed to give the grocery store a farmers market feel. The cash registers were already on and advertising for gift certificates were posted, but the store still has towers of boxes scattered among small packs of busy employees.

There's so much activity in the building and even in the parking lot that Sprouts looks like it's open. No wonder Collins has been turning eager shoppers away for days.

I've been just as curious as everyone else, so when Sprouts invited me in for a sneak peek at the store, I cleared my Friday morning calendar.

For the most part, it looked and felt just like the chain's first Sunshine State store in Hillsborough County that opened in February. …

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