ENGLEWOOD — Lisa and Paul Crawford wanted to grocery shop like they did in Colorado.
After moving to Fort Myers, the Crawfords opened their Sunflower Market discount grocery store in North Fort Myers a year ago.
The market proved such a success, the couple is now opening a second grocery market in Englewood in the space vacated by Save A Lot at the Englewood Square shopping center on 400 block of South Indiana Avenue. Save A Lot closed Feb. 1.
Their goal now is to stage a grand opening for Sunflower Market on Nov. 6 with the Englewood Area Chamber of Commerce.
“We just took the plunge,” Lisa said. Paul is a full-time commercial pilot and Lisa’s background is in international development. The couple lived on a farm, outside of Boulder before moving to Fort Myers.
“There’s so many seniors on tiny incomes,” Lisa said of the customers at their North Fort Myers market. “Our prices are half of the cost of typical grocery stores.”
Crawford views Englewood as made up of seniors and working people, many of whom are finding it difficult to make ends meet. With the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are finding themselves struggling, she said.
The concept for their discount market seemed like a new idea in Fort Myers.
Basically, the Crawfords work with local and national distributors, manufacturers, grocery stores and others in the food industry. They acquire products that for one reason or another are not going to sell in traditional stores, whether for faulty packaging or mislabeling, discontinued or items that are still good but just past their “best-if-used-by” dates.
“It’s good food that would end up in a landfill,” Crawford said.
The Crawfords also built partnerships with local farmers, like those in Immokalee, for fresh produce.
Like Publix, Winn-Dixie or Walmart or any other supermarket, Sunflower Market must adhere to USDA and other safety standards.