Fresh food, all-natural meats and produce grown by Oklahoma farmers are about to get a wider audience, thanks to three big venues coming to the metro.
Edmond will be home to a “one-of-a-kind” market at the southwest corner of Kelly Avenue and Covell Road: Uptown Grocery, a 50,000-square-foot organic grocery store. Uptown Grocery is a project of Buy For Less owner Hank Binkowski. Buy For Less currently has four locations in the metro area, but Uptown Grocery will be unique, both in its upscale design that Binkowski said is inspired by the “classic New York warehouse district,” and in that it will also include sit-down restaurants and provide more than 300 parking spaces.
The location in north Edmond is considered a “destination location,” but it’s close to Cheyenne Middle School, Mitch Park and many neighborhoods. Much like the Buy For Less concept, shoppers will be able to pick up entire ready-made meals at Uptown Grocery for added convenience. The opening date is scheduled for February 2012.
National grocer Sunflower Farmers Market has announced it will open its first store in the Oklahoma City market this September with a 28,000-squarefoot building at the intersection of N.W. 63rd and N. May Avenue with.
“We call it ‘serious food at silly prices,’” said Sunflower CEO Chris Sherrell of its value-based proposition. Sunflower currently has 33 locations in six states. Sunflower anticipates bringing at least 100 jobs to the area. In addition to the natural and organic food options, the store itself uses eco-friendly practices, such as energy-efficient light fixtures and water-saving devices like sensor-operated sinks and a hot-water reclamation tank.
Sunflower offers a “Silly Savings Club,” which customers can sign up for online and receive notifications through their email. The free membership also allows customers to create and save grocery lists, rate and review recipes, watch cooking videos and receive customized recipes.
Steve Black, Sunflower vice president of marketing, said he’s looking forward to working with the Made In Oklahoma coalition to get Oklahoma products in the store. The procurement team will begin visiting with local vendors about 60 days prior to opening, and vendors can find out more at sfmarkets.com.
Also on tap is the granddaddy of all organic grocers, Whole Foods Market, which was announced jointly this time last year by Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon and Whole Foods. While Whole Foods began in 1980 just a state away, in Austin, Texas, it’s taken 30 years and 300 stores for the world’s leader in natural and organic foods to bring Oklahoma into its fold. But, as the saying goes, “better late than never.” The 35,000-square-foot store will be located in Classen Curve near N.W. 63rd and Classen Boulevard. The supermarket in Oklahoma City will be built to strict green-building standards, incorporating an energy-efficient design, alternative refrigerants and advanced eco-friendly systems. Local producers interested in vendor consideration at Whole Foods can check out its quality standards and submit with the regional office in Texas.
Representatives for Whole Foods are planning on a fall opening, but have not confirmed a grand-opening date yet.
Until then, shoppers searching for local produce and all-natural meat can depend on area farmers’ markets.