NORMAN — About 200 customers lined up before dawn Wednesday, eagerly awaiting the grand opening of Sprouts Farmers Market at 555 W Main St.
The 29,775-square-foot store is the company's 153rd store, and the third to open in Oklahoma. Sprouts stores also are located in Edmond and Oklahoma City. A fourth state store is scheduled to open April 24 in Bixby.
“‘Healthy Living for Less' is our motto. We make healthy eating affordable,” said Steve Black, chief information and marketing officer for the Arizona-based company.
Sprouts is “a treat” for shoppers who like a farmers market feel, Black said.
Customer Anne Barajas Harp agreed.
Harp said she was impressed with Sprouts' sale prices and excited to have another natural foods store in Norman as a shopping option.
“But what most impressed me, honestly, was that when I walked through the door a member of the Sprouts management staff looked me in the eye, shook my hand and thanked me for coming to the store. That goes a long ways with me,” Harp said.
Harp was among about 500 residents who were invited to a preview party Tuesday, which began with a “blessing” ceremony by Charles Haag, a member of the Southern Cheyenne Indian tribe.
First-day customers on Wednesday were greeted with muffins, coffee and samples of sushi, cheese, fruit and other offerings. Many scored free grocery coupons and other giveaway items.
“We're tickled to be here,” Black said. “We want people to feel comfortable here and to feel like this is their neighborhood market.”
What you'll find
About a fourth of the store is dedicated to the sale of produce, with vegetables and fruits colorfully displayed in low, easy-to-reach stacks, contributing to a “fruit-stand” look.
The store also offers fresh baked foods, prepared foods and foods packaged with all the fixings for a meal that can be prepared at home.
Natural meats and seafood, fresh and frozen, are on sale, along with Sprouts' handmade pork and chicken sausages. The delicatessen offers a selection of Boar's Head meats and cheeses, as well as fresh-made sandwiches, salads and sushi.
Sprouts also is known for merchandise sold in bulk, including coffee, spices, grains, nuts, sugars and flours.
The store is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. It boasts between 4,000 and 5,000 gluten-free products and an array of vitamins and supplements.
Black said employees are trained in nutrition and special diets to assist customers with dietary needs.
“You won't see any aisles of junk food here. That's not what we are about. We promote healthy eating and want to make it accessible and affordable for everyone,” Black said.