Sprouts Farmers Markets have opened recently throughout the Austin area. I’ve been hearing their somewhat annoying ads on the radio for a few months, but it wasn’t until their Westlake location opened last week that I found myself near a Sprouts when I had some time to check it out.
I was pleasantly surprised by the bright, open, airy feel of the store. Its displays are arranged attractively, and there is enough room to maneuver a shopping cart around them. The workers were friendly; I was asked no fewer than three times by three different employees if I needed help finding something. I was happy browsing the selection of goodies in the store. I liked the balance of conventionally-grown foods and organics, which provide a lot of variety at an affordable price point. All of the produce seemed fresh and looked appealing. And although I had told my three-year-old I’d buy him some strawberries next time I went to the store, Sprouts takes their mostly-local, in-season only pledge seriously—there were no strawberries to be found.
But what I did find made me and my pocketbook quite happy. There were some real bargains in the produce department: Three pounds of seedless grapes for $1? Unheard of! Five ears of corn for $!? I’ll take some! I also tried out some all-natural frozen potatoes (wedges and sweet potato fries), as they were 2/$3. My kids (and husband!) loved both varieties. The other great deal I got was on 95% lean ground beef, at $1.79/pound. While these sale prices are all obvious loss-leaders, I was happy to take advantage of them. Prices for other products—produce and regular groceries– were definitely in line with other shopping options in town.
The bulk section at Sprouts is on par with that of Sun Harvest, but not as big as Central Market’s. The prices seemed somewhere in the middle of those two options as well. I bought a few varieties of granolas and trail mix, all of which I and my kids have happily consumed.
It’s obvious that Sprouts was still working out some supply chain issues for the new store. At my visit, they were out of both bulk baby spinach and bulk baby greens. The checkout clerk also told me that their corn (a front-page advert) was late to arrive, and they’d only just put it out an hour or so before I arrived. At any rate, I trust Sprouts will work out these minor kinks.
My only real complaint is that there isn’t a Sprouts more on my beaten path. I could see myself doing a lot of shopping there.
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