Sprouts Farmers Market is set to open Sept. 2 on Milpas Street in Santa Barbara at the site of the former Trader Joe’s.
Sprouts Farmers Market is set to open Sept. 2 on Milpas Street in Santa Barbara at the site of the former Trader Joe’s. (Bill Macfadyen / Noozhawk photo)

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Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Santa Barbara is experiencing a grocery store resurgence. 

Bristol Farms opened in La Cumbre Plaza this week, and early next month, Santa Barbara’s Eastside will be home to a new grocery store with a popular brand name.

Sprouts Farmers Market is set to open at 7 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 29 S. Milpas St. — the site of the former Trader Joe’s.

Every shopper on opening day will receive a free reusable shopping bag with a purchase. Customers can also enter to win a $500 Sprouts gift card by visiting the new store’s website.

“I am looking forward to the opening of Sprouts on the Eastside,” Councilwoman Alejandra Gutierrez said. “Being that the Eastside has a majority Latino population, they will now have an alternative that will provide cleaner and healthier options when it comes to what they put on the table. On top of the healthier options, Sprouts will bring much-needed jobs for the people that live in the surrounding neighborhood and will add another business on the Milpas corridor.

“I am looking forward to having it in my district because it is beneficial to the community in more ways than one.”

The Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation has partnered with the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County since 2017 to support its Kid’s Farmer’s Market and Healthy School Pantry programs, which work to reduce food insecurity in high-poverty areas of the county, according to a news release. The foundation’s support recently helped the Foodbank aid local residents amid the pandemic, with more than 7.6 million pounds of fresh produce and groceries distributed to 177,000 in-need residents across Santa Barbara.

The Santa Barbara store will donate unsold and edible groceries to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County through the grocer’s Food Rescue program. In 2019, Sprouts stores and distribution centers donated 27 million pounds of product, equivalent to 23 million meals. Food that cannot be donated will be given to cattle farms and composting facilities. 

Sprouts in a news release also said it has invested additional labor hours into stores to allow for more frequent cleaning, paying close attention to high-touch areas such as service counters, restrooms, carts and checkout lanes. Stores are also implementing steps to promote social distancing and installing plexiglass barriers at registers to add protection for team members and customers.

It’s the second Sprouts on the South Coast. The other Sprouts is in Goleta, 175 N. Fairview Ave., Suite 110.

Enterprise Fish Co. Sails Away

One of Santa Barbara’s most popular restaurants, Enterprise Fish Co., quietly closed its doors in June.

The restaurant was a Santa Barbara destination for 43 years. 

Owners Michael Bank and Randy LaFerr graduated from UCSB in the mid-1970s and wanted to open a restaurant that grilled fresh seafood over charcoal with seating around a visible kitchen. 

They found a site at 225 State St., the former home to a laundry facility. 

The owners said the people who worked there made the restaurant successful.

“They made the restaurant what it was, showing great spirit and pride until we had to close this year with the pandemic,” Bank said in a statement to Noozhawk

Bank said he took a walk around the now-vacant restaurant a few days ago and reflected on the memories inside the building. He said he was able to raise a family in a beautiful city because of the restaurant. 

“I am tremendously grateful to the customers, both locals and tourists, who came in night after night for our lobster special, happy hour, birthday dinners or just a regular meal with loved ones,” Bank saidt. “We love being part of the Santa Barbara community because it is a community that is grounded, giving, generous and supportive.”

Insomnia Cookies Set to Open

Insomnia Cookies, the late-night bakery concept with headquarters in Philadelphia and New York, plans to open a bakery at 430 State St. on Friday.

It’s the first location in Santa Barbara and the ninth in California. 

The company offers nine traditional cookie varieties, including chocolate chunk, snickerdoodle, double chocolate chunk, sugar, M&M, double chocolate mint, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter chip and white chocolate macadamia. The decadent “Deluxe” cookie is available in six lavors: s’mores, peanut butter cup, triple chocolate chunk, confetti, salted caramel and oatmeal chocolate walnut.

The company also sells ice cream, individually and between two cookies as a “Cookie’wich,” according to a news release. Catering and bulk packages will be available. 

The bakery hours will be from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. on weekends.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at jmolina@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.