Sprouts, Sunflower Complete Merger

Sprouts Farmers Market and Sunflower Farmers Market have finalized the merging of the two companies, making Sprouts among the largest natural and organic foods retailers with 144 stores and projected 2012 revenues expected to near $2 billion.

“Everyone at Sprouts is eager to work with the Sunflower team to build a stronger company,” said Shon Boney, CEO of Sprouts. “In joining forces, we will create a company that is not only bigger, but better – and continue to provide our signature shopping experience with a strong commitment to value and natural products. The customers and employees of both stores have a lot to look forward to as we launch this great adventure.”

The addition of the Sunflower stores expands Sprouts’ geographic footprint to Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Oklahoma and further extends its presence in the states of California, Arizona, Colorado and Texas. All of the Sunflower stores will be re-branded under the Sprouts banner. The conversions will begin in July and occur in phases through the end of the year. The stores will receive new interior and exterior signage, updated fixtures and an expanded merchandise mix.

Sprouts will remain headquartered in Phoenix, and Sunflower’s corporate headquarters in Phoenix and Boulder will be consolidated into the Sprouts office.

Sprouts traces its lineage back to Henry Boney, a San Diego entrepreneur who opened his first business, a fruit stand at the corner of 71st and El Cajon Boulevard near La Mesa, California in 1943. Over the years, he and his family started and sold many retail businesses, including Speedee Mart, Boney’s and Windmill Farms.

The second generation of Boney’s stores were opened in 1969 by Henry’s sons, Stan, Steve, and later Scott. The name was changed to Henry’s Marketplace in 1997. The Boney family ran Henry’s until 1999, when the stores were sold to Wild Oats Markets, Inc., which later sold them again.

Henry’s son, Stan, and his grandson, Shon, along with family friends Kevin Easler and Scott Wing, returned to the natural foods business in 2002 when they opened the first Sprouts Farmers Market store in Chandler, Arizona. Sprouts grew rapidly, and just last year reunited with Henry’s in a merger sponsored by Apollo Management, L.P., which is now the majority owner of Sprouts.

Reprinted from Progressive Grocer (5/29/2012)