What sets Sprouts Markets apart? (PHX)
I've noticed that some folks here are keen on shopping at Sprouts, so I thought I'd see what draws people there. I've been to the store on Indian School (@ 28th St) a few times in hopes of being impressed by something. Other than bulk spices and some organic beef, I've not felt compelled to buy anything there, as products similar to those sold at Sprouts can usually be had at Trader Joe's or one of the large supermarkets.
I keep looking for excuses not to shop at Safeway. So, Sproutaphiles, please clue me in. What are your reasons for shopping at Sprouts vs. someplace else?
Produce at Sprouts is better than Trader Joes (and I love TJ's, just not for their cellophane packages of imported vegetable-like matter). Seems like they have fast turnover despite (or maybe because of) their small displays, so everything has always been fresh and very inexpensive.
The meats are great. I haven't yet found another place to sell organic meats.
Some other sundries are also great buys (honey, for example, is far less than any other place I've found for local mesquite).
And, milk. Organic milk at Sprouts is cheaper than WalMart, even! I'm mostly a farmers market junky, but I will supplement at Sprouts, especially for basics like milk and eggs and meat.
The owners seem to be good folks, as was previously mentioned. They ran a decent chain in SoCal and it was bought out, but the non-compete clause was local so they started Sprouts in AZ and brought with them many employees and suppliers. My information might not be accurate. My mom lives across from the owner's parents, so I might be getting tainted feedback!
I'd like to add a few notes that will make you feel better about shopping there. I've worked with a number of non profits, and most supermarket chains are a total P.I.T.A. and unhelpful. Sprouts has repeatedly gone over and above to do absolutely anything to help out when I call. They've made their stores available for anything I need.
I have a few friends who work there, and they all say the same thing about what an amazing place it is to work at, how understanding the managers are, what a great atmosphere, etc.
I'm pretty careful about where my $ go, and I am MORE than happy to send them Sprouts's way.
I think the problem was that I was focusing on the negatives: lackluster produce (IMO and/or when I've been there) and the number of bulk bins devoted to snacks and candy rather than items I actually buy.
I don't tend to buy prepared foods, and TJ's does a good job keeping me supplied with organic dairy.
Next time I go, I'll be sure to peruse the meat and fish selections more carefully, as this seems like where their strengths and my needs overlap.
Another lesson learned: don't chuck the store flyer in the recycle bin before reviewing it.
On a more specific note, on two separate occasions, I combed the spice aisle at Baiz looking for garam masala but to no avail. So, I'm glad to hear that there is a nearby source.
Similar to what others have said, I buy most of our meats, seafood, and veggies there. Those items are consistently fresh and very reasonably priced. Maybe it's my particular Sprout's location, but the quality of fruit isn't so good so I usually go to Albertson's for that. I also keep my eye on the weekly values, as there are always some very good deals.
It's all about the bulk food for me. You can't beat their prices on nuts, lentils, beans, etc. And they do have a fantastic bulk spice selection. I love that I can walk in and buy a teencie baggy of garam masala for less than .50, whereas a whole jar is almost 4.00, and it would take me a lifetime to use.
I live across the street from one so it's very convenient for me.
I don't shop at any of the big grocers on a regular basis(Fry's, Safeway, Bashas and the like). Most of my shopping gets done at TJ's, Costco, and Sprouts. If I don't get to the farmer's market(rare these days due to schedule) and since we're not in our CSA anymore I tend to pick up produce at Sprouts...I've always been pleased with their selection and quality. I've always had good luck at the fish counter as well - selection is pretty limited but the product is always fresh. They regularly carry wild salmon at a fair price as well. I don't buy a lot of meat and poultry in general...but I like that theirs is hormone/antibiotic free. They have great prices on lamb shanks too . I can also get turkey necks for my dogs easily.
I like the bulk section too...again it's very convenient for me and the prices are great. My bird will be very sad if this location goes out(with Whole Foods now open) and I have to travel farther for his raw unsalted sunflower seeds! LOL
Organic milk prices aren't bad. They carry Cascade Fresh Yogurt which is the only flavored one I'll buy(much lower in sugar without using artificial sweetners than any other brand I've found).
Their selection on non-fresh items isn't great and their prices on those items aren't great either.
Watch their ads...the prices on the ads are usually really agressive and can' be great deals.
I buy all my meat and poultry @ Sprouts...
Always well priced.....
Best ground beef in town...lean and hormone free.
I agree w/ zigglu their lamb prices are incredible and we love their fresh chicken sausages. I buy their ground chicken for my lasagna's and pasta dishes. The ground chicken w/ Basil is yummy!
I always watch their flyers for specials and stock up.....
Their selection is limited.....though I can always find something unusual or different. Bought a sugar free blueberry loaf for my SO's diabetic Father....it was moist and very tasty.
I am more of a Sprout's hobbiest versus a regular shopper, but here is why I do go there when I do. I think their produce selection is one of the best, both from selection and price that I have found. In addition, there deli selection and in particular there prepared food selection is very good. You mentioned there bulk items which I think is another good reason to check them out. I don't shop there for really anything else as I feel there selection is weak and prices high. I kind of use the triumpherate of Sprouts, Trader Joes and AJs to fill in the gaps for what I don't buy at my local Fry's.
re: Billy Bob
I'm with Billy Bob on this one....I usually only shop at Sprouts for items between regular shopping times, for additional produce for recipes, perhaps a baguette with dinner or a chilled lambic. I'm greatly disappointed in their cheese selection, but as noted, their prepared foods are pretty good (the $2.99 sandwich special will do in a pinch for lunch). As you said, their bulk spices are impressive (the only place I can find cardamom pods), and not only is their vitamin/allergy/medicine section well-stocked, I've found that they really know their stuff about what they carry.