Sprouts Farmers Market Inc. hired 130 full- and part-time employees for its first Jacksonville store that is scheduled to open at 7 a.m. Wednesday in The Markets at Town Center.
The Phoenix-based chain focuses on selling fresh, natural and organic foods and will open at 4873 Town Center Parkway. It will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. At noon Tuesday, employees stocked merchandise and contractors completed exterior work.
Spokeswoman Kalia Pang said Tuesday the location is an “enhanced layout store” focusing on signage, display and merchandising as well as an island deli that stocks merchandise around its perimeter.
It is entering a Northeast Florida market where natural and organic grocers Earth Fare, Lucky’s Market, Trader Joe’s, Native Sun, The Fresh Market and Publix GreenWise operate or plan multiple stores.
Within the Town Center area, Publix Super Markets Inc. and Aldi operate grocery stores.
A second Sprouts is in development at Tamaya Market at Beach and Tamaya boulevards. It is expected to open in 2020. Pang said there was no opening date scheduled.
She said Sprouts continues to “look for suitable sites” within the state, but did not know of any locations of interest in Northeast Florida.
“Florida has been a huge market for us,” she said. “We know the demand is exploding here.”
The 30,000-square-foot Sprouts is in the space where Best Buy operated before the electronics retailer moved across the street to The Strand at Town Center.
The city issued a permit Jan. 11 for a six-month, $2.5 million construction renovation. Furniture, fixtures and other work mean the total cost was more.
Sprouts plans opening ceremonies that include 20% off the purchases for the first 200 shoppers. All customers on opening day receive a reusable bag with a purchase.
On Saturday, the Taste of Sprouts will feature samples of Sprouts Brand products.
Sprouts said it built-out the Jacksonville store with its newest operational and design enhancements.
Among other departments, including a large fresh produce area in the heart of the store, Sprouts features the Butcher Shop and Fish Market; the Market Corner Deli; vitamins and supplements; and a bulk department with more than 300 bins and barrels of loose teas and coffee beans, nut butters, treats and staples like nuts, grains and trail mixes sold by the pound.
The store will offer closer-to-home products such as Bee Haven Honey, Kombucha 221 BC, Old Florida Gourmet and Pinellas Chocolate. “Local” products are considered those from in the state or within 500 miles.
Sprouts will donate unsold and edible groceries from the Jacksonville store to Feeding Northeast Florida through the grocer’s Food Rescue program.
Sprouts said that in 2018, its stores and distribution centers donated 27 million pounds of product, equivalent to 23 million meals.
Also, food that is not fit for donation is provided to cattle farms and composting facilities, it said.
“Sprouts’ evolving ‘zero waste’ initiatives help minimize food waste while reducing the impact of hunger and the company’s environmental footprint,” said a Sprouts news release.
Sprouts opened its first Florida store in February 2017 in Carrollwood, near Tampa. The Jacksonville store is the 11th Sprouts in the state and the fifth to open this year. The company has leases for 13 more.