Sprouts plants 1st new Arizona store in 5 years

Chandler and Ahwatukee Foothills grocery shoppers will have a new Sprouts Farmers Market serving the area today, as the chain opens its first new Arizona store in five years.

Sprouts has looked for a location in the area since opening its first Chandler store in 2002, company president Doug Sanders said.

"Ahwatukee was always on the list," Sanders said. "Unfortunately, we could never find the right piece of real estate."

That changed when space opened as The RoomStore moved into a smaller storefront in the shopping center at the southwest corner of Ray Road and 48th Street.

This location of the Phoenix-based company will employ between 80 and 85 employees.

The 27,000-square-foot store is about the same size as most Sprouts and includes the chain's latest designs and products. Those new offerings include Boar's Head meats and cheeses, along with more organic produce and frozen food.

The chain has incorporated additional products and changed some displays since its 2011 merger with Henry's Farmers Market and this year's merger with Sunflower.

All of the nearly 150 stores now carry the Sprouts nameplate.

Sprouts plans 15 new stores in several Western states through 2013, including in Phoenix and Flagstaff.

Customers will see the latest store designs rolled out at existing locations in the next year or two, Sanders said.

"It's definitely not a completely different store," Sanders said. "The things that people have come to love over 10 years will still be the same."

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