Thursday, July 12, 2007
Claremont's Sprouts Market: One Goddess' Experience
It was clear from the parking lot that we were not alone in eagerly awaiting this type of grocery store opening in the area. Once inside, the feeling of excitement was palpable. The store was very crowded with shoppers, most of whom were only getting a few things from what I could tell, while checking out the store in general. There were samples of food all over the store, mostly of the sugar variety.
As a regular shopper at Henry's Market Place, the surroundings looked quite familiar to me. I was perhaps a bit disappointed by this, having expected something new and different. The font and logo on the food labeling, for instance, was identical. The layout of the store was even similar to the Henry's in Chino Hills, as were some of the specialty items (gorrilla munch cereal, the alpine bread line (can I recommend the cinnamon swirl), nitrate free meat, seeds and other bin foods). Some of the basics (like corn tortillas, which I actually needed that day) are kind of expensive, but there were good prices on produce (can you say $.49 a lb. for grapes? their plums, melons, papaya, red leaf lettuce and celery were all 2 lbs. for a $1).
As for the grapes, well they were small and veered toward yellow, but they were quite tasty as it turns out.
One of the workers told me that the local media had wanted to cover the opening, but Sprouts told them no, they didn't want to create a circus atmosphere. The worker agreed that it ended up being a mob scene anyway.
Oh, and about the fresh bread...I spied six half baguettes of LaBrea Bakery french bread, and that was it. This sort of puzzled me, since you'd think it would be all or nothing. Dave the bakery manager told me that they are currently looking for a local artisan bread company to deliver fresh bread to the store daily. He said that LaBrea is a contender, but since LaBrea bread is carried by other local markets, Sprouts may use another local company in order to offer something unique. Dave said that the story behind the half loafs of LaBrea is this: at their Arizona locations where the store started, La Brea used to be offered, but then was replaced by a local Arizona baker. He said that by popular demand, Sprouts kept the half loaves as a courtesy to customers. He said that the half loaves are delivered frozen and wamed up on site each day. Unfortunately, I found the half loaves a bit spongey for my taste, but I am excited about the prospect of fresh artisan bread at Sprouts in the future.
Would love to hear what others thought. C and A, I know you went yesterday.
OH and a big, fat, extra-crunchy Pomona-style thank you goes out to D.P. for emailing me the William and Morris version of the Pomona goddess that now appears at the top of blog. D.P., a reader to the blog who says she "grew up playing in Lincoln Park in the 60s-70s before or during the architectural and cultural holocaust of Pomona," thought the place needed the image to give it true "blogerificness."
I didn't see the cart in todays' photo at Sprouts, although Henry's has some like it, but isnt it cool?