New Sprouts store praised by customers, but professor says marketing key

Sprouts Farmers Market unveiled its third Las Vegas-area location in Henderson on Wednesday to upbeat customers but a cautionary word of advice by a UNLV economics professor.

Las Vegas resident Geraldine O’Connor said though she’s never been to a Sprouts before, she was impressed by the selection and friendly staff.

“I’ve lived here since 1995 and I’ve never seen the parking lot this full before,” she said of the strip shopping mall. “I hope to be back to Sprouts if they keep their bargains, but I know WinCo is close by and I don’t know how that will impact them.”

Sandra Farrar, a frequent WinCo shopper, said she often shops at the Sprouts location on East Tropicana Avenue and was excited to learn about the new location in Henderson.

“It’s nice and bigger than I thought it would be,” she said. “We really needed a Sprouts here because Whole Foods is a nice store but it’s expensive. I also love shopping at WinCo because of their prices, selection and the people are wonderful. It’s the price and quality that set supermarkets apart.”

The 25,086-square-foot Sprouts store, at 515 N. Stephanie St., in Henderson, is just more than 2 miles from WinCo Foods, Food 4 Less, Albertsons and Smith’s and less than 5 miles from Whole Foods.

Mary Riddel, professor and chairwoman of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ economics department, said Sprouts must distinguish its products from other Las Vegas supermarkets by using an effective marketing campaign.

“They are billing themselves as, ‘healthy living, for less.’ This puts them head to head in terms of products offered with Whole Foods, who have been very successful in Las Vegas and across the country,” she said.

“They appear to be trying to differentiate themselves from Whole Foods — sometimes called ‘Whole Paycheck’ — by offering organic and vegan options at lower prices.”

But Riddel said healthy food often comes at a higher cost to consumers.

“They will have to maintain higher prices than the national chains because ‘healthy’ food such as organic will cost more, but given the growing demand for organics and local food, there is room for modestly higher prices,” she said.

“However, the supermarket chains are offering their own organic brands, so they are going to be walking a tightrope in terms of offerings and margins between the large national chains or the organic chains such as Whole Foods.”

Phoenix-based Sprouts first opened in 2002. The natural-food supermarket now has more than 170 locations in nine states. Sprouts will open locations at 635 S. Green Valley Parkway and 10000 W. Sahara Ave. later this summer.

“As with any new Sprouts store, these new Las Vegas area locations were selected based on extensive strategic research into the area,” said Ted Frumkin, Sprouts senior vice president for business development.

“We know Las Vegas residents have a growing interest in health and wellness, and Sprouts meets this need by offering fresh, natural and organic foods at great prices.”

Larry Gove, wine manager at Total Wine &More, next door to the new Sprouts Henderson location, said he’s excited to have a new tenant in the shopping mall.

“I’m glad to see the traffic because we now have new customers coming in and it gives them more options,” he said. “The store sat vacant for about four or five years so I’m glad to see Sprouts come in.”

Contact reporter Ann Friedman at afriedman@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0391 Follow @AnnFriedmanRJ on Twitter.