Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market apparently has two standards: a lower standard for its store at Speedway and Swan in Tucson, and a higher standard for its store in Oro Valley and its stores in metro Phoenix.
The chain must think that lower standards are okay with residents of the City of Tucson.
Most days, the Tucson store has rusty, dirty shopping carts corralled in front of the store, litter strewn about outside, and grimy cement entryways and sidewalks that appear to have never seen a pressure washer.
Admittedly, these conditions are better than the sorry conditions of the ugly building across the side street to the west. The building is vacant and surrounded by a chain-link fence. Naturally, like so many neighborhood streets in Tucson, the side street is in sorry condition, with crumbling pavement and weeds along shoulders.
The Tucson Sprouts store stands in sharp contrast to the one in Oro Valley and the ones patronized by my wife and me when we lived in metro Phoenix. The conditions at these other stores match the nicely-landscaped and nicely-maintained shopping centers where they are located. Even the shopping carts are in better condition than the ones at the Tucson store.
Maybe it’s a company policy to send beat-up shopping carts to Tucson to make way for new ones in other locations.
Or maybe the company’s chief financial officer has concluded that it would be a waste of money to maintain higher standards in Tucson, because Tucsonans will shop at the store regardless of conditions.
Whole Foods is another chain with a double standard. For weeks, it had a tacky banner 4 ft. high and 20 ft. long on the public right-of-way in front of its store at Oracle and Ina, in unincorporated Pima County. It doesn’t do this at its stores in Scottsdale and Phoenix.
One wonders how companies headquartered elsewhere learn that they can have lower standards in Tucson.
Perhaps they learn from Tucson-based businesses, many of which have non-existent or poorly-maintained landscaping, with tacky illegal signs and banners plopped around the perimeter of their property. It’s even the same with some churches, schools and public offices. If locals don’t have community pride, why should outsiders?
These conditions are noticed by corporate scouts who evaluate cities for the location of high-wage offices and headquarters.
Tucsonans deserve better. But until they demand better from businesses and local government, they won’t get what they deserve.