Northern California Market Region Special Report
In a September 22, 2010 story - Sunflower Makes Three: Sunflower Farmers Market's First Northern California Store Will Be in Roseville - Fresh & Easy Buzz reported on and detailed plans by Colorado-based Sunflower Farmers Market to enter the Northern California Market region and open its first store in Roseville, California in early 2011, along with its plans to open additional stores throughout the region over time.
The grocer wouldn't publicly confirm its plans for Northern California to us at the time. But today Sunflower Farmers Market confirmed our September report (and our earlier Twitter report from late 2009), announcing its plans to enter Northern California and open its first store in Roseville, which is near Sacramento, in April 2011, followed by a second store in the South Bay Area city of San Jose. The Roseville store is at 424 Roseville Square.
Sunflower Farmers Market has 32 stores in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Texas. The Texas stores operate under the Newflower Farmers Market banner.
The Sunflower/Newflower stores average 20,000-30,000 square-feet. The format is a hybrid natural/organic and conventional grocery store, with a major focus put on fresh produce, which is displayed farmers market-style in big produce departments that comprise about a third of the stores' square-footage.
We estimate Sunflower's annual sales at between $600-$700 million, based on figures made public by the grocer's president last year and early this year.
The grocer made the Northern California confirmation today via a news release, which had as its focus an announcement that Sunflower Farmers Market founder and CEO Mike Gilliland has been named CEO of the year by ColoradoBiz magazine, a publication that focuses on business and industry in the state of Colorado.
Sunflower Farmers Market has planted a Sunflower on a seventh state, California, on the location map (pictured above) on its website, indicating its plans to enter Northern California and open its first store in the region in April 2011. Southern California is also in the works, as we've previously reported.
Gilliland, who founded Sunflower Farmers Market in Boulder, Colorado in 2002, where it's still headquartered, and before that founded Wild Oats Markets, which was acquired by Whole Foods Market, Inc. in 2007, is on the cover of this month's ColoradoBiz magazine as its CEO of the year. There's also a profile about the veteran food and grocery retailer/entrepreneur in the magazine, which you can read here.
Gilliland co-founded Wild Oats Markets, Inc. and was the CEO from 1987 to 2001. Wild Oats was headquartered in Boulder, Colorado until Whole Foods Markets acquired the chain in 2007. After leaving Wild Oats in 2001, he founded Sunflower Farmers Markets, where he's currently chairman and CEO, the following year.
The food and grocery retailing veteran was also honored this summer by the Boulder Chamber of Commerce, as we wrote about in this piece - September 28, 2010: Grocer-Entrepreneur, Sunflower Farmers Market Founder & CEO Mike Gilliland Honored By Hometown Chamber of Commerce.
Sunflower Farmers Market also announced its Northern California plans on its @SunflowerMKT Twitter Page, where it posted a link to a brief Associated Press report of the announcement.
As we noted in our September 2010 story, Sunflower Farmers Market will join two other grocers that operate very similar formats - Arizona-based Sprouts Farmers Market and Smart & Final-owned and Southern California-based Henry's Farmers Market - in opening stores in 2011 in Roseville. [See - September 22, 2010: Sunflower Makes Three: Sunflower Farmers Market's First Northern California Store Will Be in Roseville.]
All three 'Farmers Market" format grocers are new to the Northern California market region.
Sprouts opened its first store in Northern California in the South Bay Area city of Sunnyvale in June of this year. [See - June 5, 2010: Sprouts Farmers Market Opens First Northern California Store in Sunnyvale; Strikes Up Partnership With Local Non-Profit Farm; and May 8, 2010: Sprouts, and Likely Henry's to Beat Fresh & Easy to Northern California Despite it's Big Head Start.]
Henry's Farmers Market followed Sprouts, opening its first store in El Grove, which is near Roseville, in August. [See - August 17, 2010: Henry's Farmers Market 'Beats' Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market to Northern California Despite Multi-Year Head Start; Elk Grove Store Opens Tomorrow.
All three of the fast-growing "Farmers Market" grocers are also non-union, something they share with Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe's, Target and Walmart, four other food and grocery retailers that have big growth plans in Northern California. (See the story links from our 'Northern California Market Region Special Report' series at the end of this piece for details on the retailers' plans in Northern California.)
Along with all of the above retailer's, Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is another non-union grocer with big plans for Northern California. It plans to open numerous stores - 14 so far based on our reporting as of November 12, 2010 - in Northern California in the first half of 2011. [See - November 12, 2010: Postponed But Not Abandoned: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Gearing Up For Northern California Launch.] Additionally, Fresh & Easy is grabbing additional sites througout the region. [See - November 22, 2010: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Plans Five New Stores in Northern California's Sacramento Region.] [Northern California Fresh & Easy Store List.]
In contrast, Northern California's three leading grocery chains by market share - Safeway Stores, Inc. (number one), Save Mart (number two) and Raley's (three) - are unionized. The non-union players mentioned above are and will continue to put increased pressure on these market share leaders however, do in part to the lower wages and benefit packages, and hence lower overall labor costs, non-union status affords these retailers.
And...as you read in Fresh & Easy Buzz months ago, Western U.S.-focused Sunflower Farmers Market plans to add its brand of food and grocery retailing to the ever-growing competitive Northern California region, starting with its first store in Roseville in April 2011. Stay tuned.
[Editor's Note: We began our 'Northern California Market Region Special Report' series in April of this year. It's one in a number of special report series' we've done in Fresh & Easy Buzz over the last three years. Taken as a whole, we beleive the nine months' of stories offers one of the best up-to-date snap shots of the Northern California market region, which Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market plans to enter in early 2011, that's currently available. Below are the stories in the series thus far. Click on the title to read the story.]
November 30, 2010: DeLano's IGA Markets Closing Five Stores in San Francisco & Marin County; Fairfax, Davis Units to Remain Open (For Now)
November 29, 2010: Veteran Grocer Harley DeLano's 'DeLano IGA Markets' Chain On the Verge of Closure in San Francisco Bay Area
November 22, 2010: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Plans Five New Stores in Northern California's Sacramento Region
November 12, 2010: Postponed But Not Abandoned: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Gearing Up For Northern California Launch
November 8, 2010 - Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's '5800 Third Street' Northern California 'Flagship' Store in San Francisco is Taking Shape
November 5, 2010: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Queuing Up Three Additional Stores in Northern California For Early-to-Mid 2011 Openings
November 3, 2010: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Plans New Store in Northern Central Valley, California City of Ceres
November 1, 2010: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Planning to Build its First Store in Northern California City of Brentwood
October 30, 2010: Raley's Launches New 'Raley's TO GO' Pre-Packaged, Refrigerated Fresh-Prepared Foods Line
October 27, 2010: Save Mart CEO Bob Piccinini Poised to Make it to the 'Bigs' as Member of Golden State Warriors' Ownership Group
September 26, 2010: While Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Postponed, Target Opened 42 'P-Fresh' Fresh Food and Grocery Markets in Northern California
September 22, 2010: Sunflower Makes Three: Sunflower Farmers Market's First Northern California Store Will Be in Roseville
September 22, 2010: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Planning A New, Third Store in San Jose, California
September 22, 2010: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Plans to Open Two Additional Stores in Northern California in Early 2011
September 21, 2010: A Look Inside Whole Foods Market's Newest Store, A Mall Location in Santa Rosa, California
September 20, 2010: About Today's Walmart Stores, Inc. Smaller Stores Media Frenzy: We Scooped it On July 6, 2010
September 19, 2010: Whole Foods Market Gives Itself A 30th Birthday Present: 299th Store Opens This Week in Santa Rosa, California
September 18, 2010: Keep On Truckin' - Whole Foods Market Celebrates 30 Years This Weekend
September 14, 2010: Eight Plus One: Napa Unit Added to Eight Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Stores Opening in Northern CA in Early 2011
September 5, 2010: BevMo Chain Ends Full Time Employment For Store Workers; They Say No Way and Join With UFCW Union to Demand 'A Better BevMo'
September 3, 2010: How the California Grocers Association and its Members Can Snatch Victory From the Jaws of the Defeat of California's Plastic Bag Ban
August 25, 2010: Going Rural: New Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Store Planned for Sutter Creek in Northern California
August 23, 2010: Hybrid 'Good Eats' Market-Cafe From Raley's CEO Michael Teel & Company Opens Today in Sacramento CA
August 22, 2010: The Insider: Challenges & Opportunities: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Will Supply its Northern CA Stores From its Riverside County DC in Southern CA
August 21, 2010: April 2010 Prediction Correct: February 2011 Target to Open First Eight Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Stores in Northern California
August 19, 2010: Tesco Will Open its First Eight Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Stores in Northern California in 'Early 2011.'
August 17, 2010: Henry's Farmers Market 'Beats' Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market to Northern California Despite Multi-Year Head Start; Elk Grove Store Opens Tomorrow
July 29, 2010: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Putting Together List of Managers Interested in Transferring to Northern California
July 25, 2010: Safeway to Start Construction on New Pleasanton, California Flagship Store Soon; Thanksgiving 2011 Target Opening
July 22, 2010: 'The Insider' - After Four Years in the High Weeds in Northern & Central California, Kroger Co. is Emerging to Grow its Foods Co Chain
July 21, 2010: Vacant Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Store in Pacifica, California Has the City's Mayor in a Pickle
July 18, 2010: 'The Insider' - When it Comes to Northern California - its Competitors are Rome Burning and Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is Nero Playing the Fiddle
July 14, 2010: Tony Bennett Has Nothing on Whole Foods Market When it Comes to Loving San Francisco...That City By the Bay
July 6, 2010: Walmart Looking for Store Sites in Northern California For 20,000 Sq-Ft Neighborhood Market by Walmart Prototype Store
June 28, 2010: Smart & Final to Open its New Format SmartCo Foods Stores in California and Arizona
June 26, 2010: Tesco Planning to Announce in July When First Northern California Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Stores to Open
June 14, 2010: Newly-Named Whole Foods Market CO-CEO Walter Robb Comes Full Circle With the Opening of the New Store in Mill Valley CA
June 5, 2010: Sprouts Farmers Market Opens First Northern California Store in Sunnyvale; Strikes Up Partnership With Local Non-Profit Farm
May 29, 2010: Going Rural: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market to Build First Store in Los Banos, California
May 28, 2010: First Phase of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market-Anchored Condo Development in San Francisco's Bayview Set For Completion in June
May 9, 2010: A Whopping 15 of Whole Foods Market's 41 New Stores in Development are in California - And Nine of The 15 Are In Northern CA
May 8, 2010: Sprouts, and Likely Henry's to Beat Fresh & Easy to Northern California Despite it's Big Head Start
May 6, 2010: Going Smaller & Getting 'Hybrid': Walmart's Smaller Supercenter in Vacant Retail Buildings Strategy Began in 2008
April 19, 2010: Tesco Debating Whether to Launch Fresh & Easy Into Northern California This Fiscal Year... or Wait
[Also: click here , here and here for a selection of past stories on Fresh & Easy and Northern Calfornia.]