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Sprouts seeks to open new grocery in Santa Rosa

Sprouts Farmers Market, a fast-growing chain of natural foods stores, is seeking city permission to open a new supermarket in northeast Santa Rosa.

The city Planning Commission on Thursday will consider a request that could lead to a 30,000-square-foot market at the northeast corner of Mendocino Avenue and Bicentennial Way.

A Sprouts spokeswoman declined to comment on the proposal. However, documents filed by city planners and the development company for the project identify Sprouts as the anchor tenant for the proposed shopping center. The developer, AVB Development Partners, with offices in San Diego and Scottsdale, Ariz., has worked on past projects with the supermarket chain, according to its website.

Based in Phoenix, Sprouts was founded in 2002 by the Boney family, which started in the produce business in 1943. Apollo Management, one of the world's leading private equity firms, announced plans to acquire the company in February and merge it with Henry's Farmers Market, a chain formed by different members of the Boney family. The deal is expected to close next week.

The combined company will have 99 stores, over 7,000 employees and more than $1 billion in annual sales, making it one of the largest grocers in the western United States.

In Northern California, Sprouts has stores in Sunnyvale and Roseville, with another planned for Dublin. It plans to open 10 stores this year.

Sprouts touts its organic and natural offerings, including 1,500 gluten-free products and a large selection of vitamins and health supplements.

City planners are recommending that the commission support both a rezoning and a general plan amendment for the 4.2-acre site, which sits across Mendocino Avenue from the Kaiser Permanente health complex.

The City Council must make the final decision on the rezoning, which would allow both the market and 10,000 feet of other retail space. If approved, the company next would need to submit specific development plans for a market on the property.


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