I woke up at 6:10 a.m. this morning excited to see how many La Cañada Flintridge residents would be at the Grand Opening of Sprouts Farmers Market on the corner of Beulah Drive and Foothill Boulevard.
What used to be an abandoned and quiet corner, since relocated across the street, is now a bustling area filled with curious residents and people from nearby communities, eager to see the new store.
More than three hundred people were waiting in line from 6 a.m. until the doors opened at 7 a.m. hoping to receive a coupon booklet for 10 free sandwiches, a $39.99 value.
I first met Barbara and Ray Cook from Monrovia while walking towards the front of the line. They were 49th and 50th in line.
“We read about the opening in the Monrovia Sprouts ad flyer,” shared Barbara Cook. “We’ve been married for 60 years,” said Ray Cook. Both like Sprouts because of the quality of the meats. “I like the bulk items,” admitted Barbara. “The raw peanuts are terrific,” shared Barbara.
The queens of coupons showed up at Sprouts too. One was Mindy Kruse from La Crescenta with her three children: Andrew (9 yrs. old), Matthew (6 yrs. old) and adorable Courtney (3 yrs. old). Mindy had her coupon organizer separated into store sections. She has Ralphs coupons in one section, CVS and now Sprouts in other areas of her billfold.
Standing next to Kruse was another coupon saver, Camille Wafer from Montrose.
“I try not to buy anything without a coupon,” said Wafer. She had her $0.55 off E-Z Peel Cuties. “They are already on sale today for $2.99. With the coupon, they are only $2.44. At Ralph’s and Trader Joe’s, their Cuties are over $5.00,” stated Wafer.
At 7 a.m. the line moved smoothly into the store filled with colorful balloons and smiling staff members welcoming each guest. Pat McDonald, the Sprouts Category Manager for the Bakery Dept. greeted me. He is from the Corporate office in Scottsdale, AZ.
"I'm here to celebrate the grand opening and to make sure everything is right for the people," said McDonald.
La Canada residents may recall a sign at this location for over a year stating “Future home Henry’s Market.” Last year, the sign was changed to “Future home of Sprouts.” McDonald informed me, “Nine-years ago, a group of people from Henry’s Market branched off and started Sprouts Farmers Market in Scottsdale, AZ. Last April 2011, Henry’s merged with Sprouts. Sprouts went from one store, 9 years ago, to now 63 markets."
By 7:15 a.m. each check-out line had at least 13 people. Most of the customers waited patiently to receive a Grand Sandwich promotion coupon booklet with their purchase. Beth Torres, a La Canada resident for more than 20 years, received one of the booklets. She told me, “It’s really interesting and fun to have a new grocery store in town.”
Still, she does not believe that it will hurt Trader Joe’s.
“Trader Joe’s shoppers are faithful to the Trader Joe's brand."
Torres arrived at Sprouts at 6:20 a.m. to enjoy the Grand Opening festivities. “It’s excited to see big things in our little village. Our village is growing,” Torres said with a smile.
Rose Park, one of the residents living near the new store, looked towards the Sprouts store while getting her three kids into the family van to drive them to school. She was shocked to see so many people and cars were parked up and down her street.
“I can’t believe people are pushing shopping carts down Beulah,” said Park.
After dropping my own daughter off at school, I went back to Sprouts to see if the crowds had dissipated. At 8:45 a.m., the store was still filled with inquisitive locals. Some asked if there were any free sandwich booklets available. Phil Martini, the store manager, informed customers that they were all handed out by 7:25 a.m. However, they still had bright green reusable Sprouts bags available with a purchase.
I ventured over to the Meals-To-Go area to purchase a couple pre-packaged meals for dinner tonight. The sign read "homemade taste'' and "30% off the price marked for today.'' I selected a turkey dinner with vegetables and a salmon dinner with vegetables. Both were under $3.50 before today's discount.
“Our meals are made in a local kitchen and delivered to Sprouts fresh and ready to be packaged,” shared Monica Oregon, deli cashier.
Nearby Michelle Martin from Boar’s Head meats and cheese was handing out turkey and cheese samples. She offered mother and son, Laura and Riley Marhevka from Glendale, a Boar’s Head chef’s hat and coloring book.
“My son Riley was so excited to come here today," shared Laura. "He goes to . We have been driving by every Monday, Wednesday and Friday watching the construction of this store.”
Next time you are on Foothill Boulevard, take a peek inside the "new kid on the block." You will be pleasantly surprised to see how the old Sports Chalet, is now a wonderful new addition to our town.