SILVERDALE — While Kitsap County has not experienced any measurable shortages in local grocery stores due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a situation of that nature certainly does conjure up images of long lines, low stock and bare shelves.
But grocery shoppers in Kitsap will soon have another choice as Sprouts Farmers Market gets set to open its doors April 8 at The Trails at Silverdale.
The Phoenix-based company was originally scheduled to open its 27,000-square foot store March 18, but pushed the date back due to the pandemic.
Kalia Pang, spokesperson for Sprouts, said the opening will be low-key — rather than a grand opening with special and sales — with a focus on getting the doors open to provide during these difficult times. She said a proper celebratory opening will take place later at an appropriate time.
“Right now, it’s just about opening our doors next Wednesday and we’re looking forward to offering the community another option for fresh and healthy groceries,” Pang said.
Sprouts already operates two locations in Washington — one in Lynnwood and the other in Mill Creek — but this will be the first one in Kitsap County. Sprouts will initially open with slightly reduced hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m daily. Once the coronavirus pandemic dies down, normal hours will be 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Opening amid such a situation is a challenge for any business, especially a grocery store that typically sees a high volume of shoppers on any given day.
The typical store employs about 110 team members in addition to any number of deliverers and suppliers dropping off inventory. Adding labor hours in-store for more frequent cleaning, especially of higher-touch areas, such as the checkout aisle, and implementing social distancing measures have been a priority, Pang said.
“We’re in this together, Silverdale,” said Sprouts Chief Operations Officer Dan Sanders in the press release announcing the store’s opening. “We’re eager to provide you and your families access to the healthy grocery essentials you need during these unprecedented times as quickly as we can.”
Pang said Sprouts generally focuses on fresh, organic food, but geared more toward the everyday shopper. The company also has a focus on being customer-service oriented with team members ready to answer any questions shoppers might have.
Sprouts also looks a little different than a conventional grocery store with fresh produce placed squarely in the center of the facility. Stores also have a butcher shop, a deli and a huge section for bulk items such as nuts and grains. Pang noted some of those bulk items may not be available right away, as the store is fully stocked in the last couple of days before opening and there may be some delays with the delivery of certain inventory.
But seeing a need in the community, Pang said the company still feels really good about its April 8 opening.
“We know the demand for groceries in the area, especially healthy and fresh groceries, is pretty high,” Pang said.