I first noticed the Sprouts Farmers Market in a newspaper ad, it seems like for a store in Liberty, and I wished for something like it in Platte County. Well, the holiday season and a time for some wishes to come true is here. On Monday, I paid my first visit to the new Sprouts grocery store at 6400 N. Revere Dr., just west of Interstate 29 off NW 64th Street, also known as Tom Watson Parkway.
Things are becoming more up to date in Platte County.
The organic and natural foods grocery store’s arrival is part of blossoming of The Village at Burlington Creek shopping center. With stone fronts in the architecture, a fountain or two, and lots of retail shops of various types, this is a peppy retail spot in Kansas City North.
The center opened as Tuileries Plaza in 2005 and the developer got into financial trouble with it, according to The Kansas City Star. NorthPoint Development bought the project in 2011 and renamed it, and the company retains office and luxury apartment developments there. An Illinois company recently bought the retail portion, which includes Sprouts, restaurants, stores and businesses such as banks.
Longtime Platte Countians find such changes significant, because for many years a trip to a natural foods store meant a long trek into various parts of Kansas City way south of the Missouri River. Briarcliff West began to change the scene north of the river; technically, it’s in Clay County but we often claim it anyway.
The Zona Rosa shopping district with its old-town feel and major department stores for anchors changed the scene even more. Both Briarcliff and Zona Rosa got lots of publicity.
Tuileries got not so much, and neither did the renamed Burlington Creek Shopping Center. The name Tuileries, by the way, is French and comes from a famous garden in Paris that once was near a castle.
The shopping center is in the county’s Burlington Creek watershed, and I applaud using local names rather than borrowing from Europe. Anyway, most of us saw little publicity about the development project and paid little heed. Except, when we drove along the Watson Parkway (also known as Highway 45) the new growth, built with more style than the usual strip shopping center, was eye catching.
And new stuff kept popping up.
Meanwhile, the Picture Hills shopping area north of the Watson Parkway also kept growing. Parts of it have been there a very long time, parts are newer.
When the failure of the Metro North Shopping Center is mentioned, along with redevelopment projects, competition from Zona Rosa is often mentioned. Burlington Creek and the businesses nearby now seem poised to give all the shopping areas in Platte County and southern Clay County major competition.
Sprouts is significant because it adds unique shopping. It’s not that we’ve been without grocery stores. Major Hy-Vee and Hen House stores are in the same 64th Street neighborhood. And I’m not giving up my old faithful two affordable and convenient stores in Platte City.
But Sprouts keeps the other stores on their toes and adds some new things. Labels like organic, grass-fed, paleo and vegan are found on the food there. The store is a chain; it has its own brands, but you can also find lots of other brands, too, such as Hammons black walnuts from Stockton, Mo., too.
Some prices seem good to me; some things seemed pricier.
But I like choice.
And I like the competitive pressure that continues to make Americans more aware of food, how it’s produced, what it contains, and how it tastes. Price is a powerful point for someone like me.
Still, I lament a loss of flavor, nutrition and quality in mainstream food offerings that has occurred in my lifetime. And I know food is not a simple thing. Consumers often mark quality based on perishables, and perishables if customers don’t buy can make a grocer go broke quickly.
Many things are occurring where food production and the environment meet, conflicts are in progress that will take decades, if not centuries, to solve.
But food progress is ongoing.
I can recall the Northwest 64th Street corridor as rural and scenic, the way many of us preferred Platte County. I once worked with a person whose family, dating to 1800s settlers, owned land in the area. But the farming days are long over there. Growth is here.
We always say if we’re going to have growth, make it good. Burlington Creek may not be a true old time village, but it’s not bad. In fact, it’s pretty good and destination worthy.
Bill Graham, who lives in the Platte City area, may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.