Sprouts Farmers Market now open

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Sprouts Farmers Market now open

Javier Valdes

Javier Valdes

Javier Valdes

Protesters stand outside Sprouts Farmers Market during the Feb. 25 opening of the store.

Elizabeth Castillo, Editor in Chief

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Sprouts Farmers Market opened Shop at the River Walk shopping center on Feb. 25. The grocery store specializes in natural and organic foods. The grand opening had employees handing out balloons to children at the store and giving out free orange juice and milk. Shoppers at the store’s opening said that they’re glad to have more natural and organic options in Bakersfield.

“I grew up on a farm and I know that the meat looks nice and fresh,” said Brenda Findley, a Sprouts shopper.

Findley said that she hopes to find more groceries for her daughter who has a gluten allergy. Katherine Hallisey, another shopper, said that she’s impressed to see more retail growth in Bakersfield.

“We’re becoming a real city,” she said, “This is all the type of stuff that’s from places like Burbank.”

Although shoppers at the new location were excited to have Sprouts, the opening concerned some individuals as well. Protesters were outside of the store handing out flyers and informing shoppers of health code violations and employee complaints.

“Workers of Sprouts are being abused and mistreated in California,” said Marc Moran, a protester at the grand opening.

According to flyers that the protesters were distributing, United Natural Foods, Inc., a Sprouts supplier, threatened and fired employees for starting a labor union. Sprouts locations in other cities have had rat droppings and flies in food prep areas and some locations held meat at unsafe temperatures, the flyers read.

Although concerns at other Sprouts locations do exist, shoppers were primarily excited to be given more grocery options.

“There are not a whole lot of other health food stores in Bakersfield,” said Kaley Chapin, another attendee of the grocery store’s grand opening. “I’m just excited we have another health food store in town.”

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