COSTA MESA — Natural and organic foods shoppers will soon notice a new sign gracing their local grocer as a merger between Henry's and Sprouts markets takes root across Orange County.
The two grocers, which announced the merger in April, will operate under the Sprouts Farmers Market banner, said Doug Sanders, president of Arizona-based Sprouts.
A new 27,000 square-foot Sprouts location will open at 225 E. 17th Street in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, while Henry's Farmers Market in the Costa Mesa Square shopping center on Harbor Boulevard will change over to Sprouts later in the month.
The new Sprouts on 17th Street will employ about 80 people, some of whom will be transferred employees already on the payroll, Sanders said.
The stores will continue to operate under the same mission of "healthy living for less" and offer a variety of natural and organic produce, meats, seafood and other products, Sanders said.
With the merger, Sprouts will operate more than 20 locations in Orange County. More than 100 of the merging stores are spread across California, Arizona, Colorado and Texas.
"The Orange County customer is typically a healthier, more health-conscious customer," Sanders said. "It's a great demographic and great area for us."
Southern California Henry's locations in Laguna Niguel, La Quinta, Mission Viejo and Woodland Hills will begin operating as Sprouts beginning Aug. 15. Other locations in Fullerton, Monrovia, San Pedro and Yorba Linda will switch over beginning Aug. 22.
Although Sprouts' main competitors already have a strong presence in coastal Orange County, with a Trader Joe's also on East 17th Street and Whole Foods Market scheduled to open next year in Fashion Island, Sanders said that the natural foods customer is still underserved in the area.
"It's always been healthy competition, and I think at the end of the day it's the customer that wins," Sanders said.