What is in this article?:
- Executive to Watch: Doug Sanders Making Sprouts Bigger and Better
- 'Humble Roots'
Title: President, Sprouts Farmers Market
Biggest Challenge: Managing the integration of Henry’s and Sun Harvest and ongoing rapid growth
PHOENIX — As the president of Sprouts Farmers Market, Doug Sanders stands at the focal point of what some observers say is one of retailing’s biggest growth opportunities.
After last year’s acquisition of the Henry’s Farmers Market and Sun Harvest banners, Sprouts, under the new ownership of Apollo Management, now ranks as the No. 2 player behind Whole Foods Market in the fresh-focused, natural and organic retail space with an estimated $1.3 billion in sales for the recently ended fiscal year.
Backed by the deep pockets of Apollo, and propelled by consumers’ increasing demand for fresh, healthy foods, Sprouts could continue to be a major consolidator within its niche. It already has been linked in trade reports as having had discussions to acquire Boulder, Colo.-based Sunflower Farmers Markets in the Rocky Mountain region, and other observers noted that it could also go after Fletcher, N.C.-based Earth Fare in the Southeast. NOTE: The company on March 9 confirmed that it has agreed to acquire Sunflower.
Sanders and industry observers have previously told SN that an initial public stock offering could eventually be forthcoming.
“Sprouts is riding a wave of growth with a simple model that is produce-forward,” Jay Jacobowitz, president of Retail Insights, a Brattleboro, Vt.-based natural-product industry consulting firm, told SN.
Helping guide that model is Sanders, a veteran of Brookshire Brothers and Associated Wholesale Grocers who joined Sprouts when the company was formed by the Boney family in 2002. At Sprouts, Sanders has been vice president of IT, chief administrative officer, chief operating officer and president.
He helped guide the conversion of the Henry’s and Sun Harvest banners to the Sprouts format last year, which gave the company a 103-store presence stretching across the Southwest from Texas to California and its first listing in SN’s Top 75 North American Food Retailers, at No. 68.
Sanders was quoted as saying that the company was taking care to manage its expansion carefully.