ORLANDO, Fla, - As we deal with the pandemic, managers at Sprouts Farmers Market say more people want to eat healthier and that’s why they opened a new location in Orlando's Dr. Phillips neighborhood.
Sprouts already has some tough competition, with 10 different Publix stores located within a 5-mile radius, as well as Whole Foods, Fresh Market, and Trader Joe’s nearby.
"When you look at our produce it’s one of our biggest options. We have a lot of variety. You compare it to other retailers, they do not have that variety here," said Sprouts Regional Manager John Hornyak. "When you look at how we’re situated in Dr. Phillips, we have a fitness center, we pull a lot of customers in here for that because they’re looking for that healthy option."
Mark Thompson, with GroceryAnchor.com, said the pandemic has been good for grocery store profits.
"I think the sales speak for themselves. When you look at the sales for these grocery stores, it’s been records across the board."
At the beginning of the year, both Lucky's Market and Earthfare closed their doors in Central Florida. Thompson said Earthfare plans to return.
"They just signed a long term lease in SODO for 24,000 sq feet. Earthfare is coming back to the state of Florida."
But can Central Florida handle yet another grocery store?
"So from a population density, each grocery store needs about 15,000 loyal customers to support it," Thompson added. "I think they’ll be ok, I think they’ll be fine and with the growing population in this particular market."
Thompson said stores like Sprouts need to differentiate themselves. In this case, it’s their variety of fresh produce and unique organic items, even paper products, that attract customers.
"I’ve done a lot of shopping during the pandemic," said customer Linda McCoy.
Hornyak said, so far, they haven’t had any problem getting paper supplies, which are a little more expensive, but recycled.