Plans for the Tampa Bay area's first Sprouts Farmers Market may be moving forward in Palm Harbor.
The Phoenix-based organic grocery store chain signed a lease with RMC Property Group to open a 32,500 square foot store at Palm Harbor Commons, at U.S. 19 and Nebraska Avenue in February. RMC did not release an opening date, but it's likely that the grocery store won't open until 2017.
Meanwhile, work has begun to build what may be the Palm Harbor Sprouts.
Sprouts Farmers Market has been looking to open new stores in Florida for years. At the Florida International Council of Shopping Centers conference in Orlando a year ago, Ted Frumkin, Sprouts' chief development officer, told attendees that Sprouts was exploring sites in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Orlando. Those who work in retail and commercial real estate in Florida talk about Sprouts like they do Wawa, H&M and Trader Joe's, brands which made big splashes when they first came into the state.
The grocery chain is known for its affordable prices on high quality produce, its wide ranging organic offerings, and its vitamins and supplement selection. It's one of many new organic grocery chains that want to find a niche in Florida.
Officials with Sprouts Farmers Market couldn't confirm the Palm Harbor store was opening.
"We have announced all 2016 store opening and there are none slated for Florida in 2016," said Erin Miller, a spokeswoman with Sprouts. Store opening dates for 2017 will be released this fall, she added.
This specific store in Palm Harbor was the first to go beyond being just a rumor when RMC issued a news release earlier this year. It was the first major announcement for Sprouts in the state. The news release has since been taken down from RMC's website, and an RMC official said he couldn't talk about the development, so it's unclear at this point if the work being done in Palm Harbor is indeed for a Sprouts.
Contact Justine Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.