It may be curiosity of a new grocer in town, or some of the special opening prices, but Boulderites have been checking out the new Sunflower Farmers Market en masse.
The smaller but well-designed store, located near McGuckin's Hardware in the Village Shopping Center, looks to be a real hit. As one friend said, making a comparison to Whole Foods, "I filled up and entire bag of groceries and it was only $25."
Looks like Whole Paycheck has a real competitor now in Boulder. Since Whole Foods purchased Wild Oats, Boulder has been anxious to have their own Sunflower Markets store. This is the fifth Sunflower to open in Colorado, and it joins a growing chain with stores in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.
Founder and CEO Mike Gilliland, who founded Wild Oats with Libby
Cook in 1987, was right on the floor, arranging some products in his
Sunflower Markets shirt when I stopped in on a Friday. Always good to see the top guy seeing how the new store is doing, and no doubt, boosting the spirits of co-workers.
Prices at the Boulder store do seem very competitive. I'll be back for the $6 a pound coffee if that price sticks. There were some very good deals as well on both regular and organic produce.
Everyone wondered how the parking situation would be in the already tight Village center, but so far, so good it appears. After all, an insanely packed parking lot at Whole Foods never seems to keep those loyal shoppers away.
The influx of shoppers has to be delighting other nearby retailers and restaurants like Alba and Le Peep.
If I had to guess who might feel the competitive pinch the most, I would have to guess the Safeway located just across the street on Arapahoe. That store, like other Safeways, was recently remodeled to add a very large natural foods and organic products section. Now they have an upstart competitor, with some very good marketing know-how, right in their neighborhood.
Meanwhile, the huge empty site where Wild Oats had planned on opening its "store of the future" at Boulder's 29th Street shopping area remains empty, although shopping center owner Macerich has hinted it will soon announce a new tenant. Whole Foods, which is expanding its own Boulder store, decided not to go with the large Oats facility after its merger.