Organic food and bargains don't often coincide, but at Sunflower Farmers Market, they do.
With its not-so-fancy shelves and fixtures and straight-from-the-farm produce, the new grocer at NW 63 and May Avenue is poised to appeal to value-conscious shoppers hungry for a new grocery store. The store opens Aug. 31.
During a sneak peak on Thursday, interior construction was nearly complete and workers were busy stocking shelves. Store director Brad Carder said Oklahoma City residents are going to enjoy the store's food — and perhaps more importantly, the prices.
“Our prices will be considerably cheaper for the same product,” he said.
The grocery store chain, which has support offices in Phoenix and Boulder, Colo., says it can offer low prices by reducing overhead costs and buying directly from vendors. Their tagline is “serious food, silly prices!”
The new 28,000-square-foot Sunflower store is in the Country Club Corner shopping center and adjacent to Half Price Books. Departments include floral, bakery, deli, natural living and more. A sushi bar, olive bar and large selection of gluten-free items are also featured. Local foods such as Watonga cheese, Big Sky Bread Co. bakery items and Head Country Barbecue sauce have places on the shelves and a huge bulk area features more than 200 items.
But the star is the produce section, which takes up nearly half the store.
“It's the whole farmer's market experience: quality, natural, organic. It's simple,” Carder said.
The store's location was most recently used by Ballenger's Furniture; other former tenants include Comp USA, Homeland and Safeway.
It's the first Sunflower Farmers Market in Oklahoma, but Steve Black, vice president of marketing and IT, said the company is scouting other state locations.
With an Akin's Natural Foods Market across the street and a new Whole Foods Market under construction about a mile away at NW 63 and Classen, competition in the organic and natural grocery market is stiff.
But Sunflower Farmers Market appeals to a different customer than Whole Foods, Black said.
“There's a big difference in the Whole Foods consumer and our consumer,” Black said.
Alison Oshel, director of community redevelopment for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, said it wasn't until the Whole Foods announcement that other grocery chains became interested in our market because it showed our shoppers are receptive to new concepts.
One of the most sought-after grocers, Trader Joes, has finally agreed to look into the Oklahoma City market, she said.
“Traditionally, grocers weren't interested in Oklahoma City because Walmart held such a stronghold,” she said. “I think we have opened doors with Whole Foods.”
Sunflower Farmers Market
To see a video about the store, go to NewsOK.