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Sunflower To Stop Spouting

By Laura Oppenheimer in Food on Jan 29, 2008 1:09PM

2008_1_sunflower.jpg"Whether or not this new kid will go on to become the prom king or get his head stuck in a toilet is unclear," we wrote when Sunflower market first opened, "but we certainly will come back for more." But we, and others, didn't come back for enough. Minneapolis-based Supervalu will close all five Sunflower locations (there are three in Ohio, one in Indianapolis and the Chicago location.) Supervalu had at one point hoped to open 50 Sunflower stores. The five current stores employed a total of 140 people. A company spokeswoman said only that the stores did not meet the company's goals.

So what went wrong here? We can't speak for the four markets in other cities, but for us, the problem was always Sunflowers' location. While we've done our fair share of jabbing at Whole Foods, when it comes down to it, it seems a little naive to open your competitor down the street from the company's Chicago flagship. Starbucks has made this strategy a successful one, but Starbucks isn't a scrappy start-up, the way Sunflower is. Couple that with the Trader Joe's down the street and Costco around the corner, and it would seem that Sunflower had its work cut out for it.

Image via Rachelleb.