Sprouts Farmer’s Market

By Kim Odom

Hey Tennessee! That was the shout out made by Sprouts Farmers Market staff as they gave a friendly wave to a growing crowd gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony early on May 13th, 2015, just before the grand opening to the first Sprouts location in the state.

Anticipation was in the air as hundreds of customers were lined up and waiting for the doors to open to the new farmers market offering healthy choices at an affordable rate. Sprouts Farmers Market general manager, Amy LaFaver, gave her staff a pep talk before the opening – reminding them it is an exciting day and their focus would be on great customer service.

Among those supporting the event were (Then) Mayor Wyatt Bunker, (Then) Commissioners, Gene Torrey and Sherri Gallick, and (Then) City Manager, Jim Atkinson. Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce President and the Economic Development Coordinator were also on hand to welcome store staff and managers of the farmers market to Lakeland.

Staff at the Sprouts Ribbon Cutting

Fourth grader, Lyla Scobey, received an invitation to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony – after she won the honors of being Mayor for a Day, at Lakeland Elementary School’s recent Auction Day event. The elementary student will also have the honors of visiting Lakeland City Hall to announce an upcoming Board of Commissioner’s meeting. (Then) Mayor Bunker spent a few minutes talking to Scobey about her upcoming responsibilities as Mayor for a Day, as she joined the mayor and others during a special sneak-peek inside the store.

Seeing this store open today is a combined effort on the part of so many that worked so hard to make this happen. And today that hard work is realized to the benefit of the residents of Lakeland and the surrounding area. We are so pleased to welcome the Sprouts family to Tennessee, said Ken Lipkowitz, (Then) President of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce at the Sprouts ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Outside a long line of anxious customers waiting for the doors to open, were greeted by store staff offering a variety of refreshments, drinks, and gift cards. It was a warm welcome that extended both ways. Sprouts Farmers Market employees were painted with welcoming smiles, and they, in return, received a neighborly welcome from the community. It was southern hospitality at its best.

Sprouts Farmers Market is located at 9050 Highway 64 in Lakeland.

Kim Odom is an employee for the city of Lakeland.

(Sprouts Grand Opening was May 3, 2015)