The day that some neighbors have been waiting a generation for comes Wednesday.
The Sprouts natural foods grocer is due to open its doors at 7 a.m. Wednesday.
One of those there to greet them will be Ayako Yamamoto, a 25-year-old who lives in Concord and spent most of her 25 years in Walnut Creek, including attending Parkmead Elementary School and Las Lomas High School. She recalls walking by the corner of North Main Street and Geary Road and wondering what the derelict building there was going to be, saying, "Are they ever going to remodel it?" Thirty years ago, it was a co-op market.
She was a fan of Whole Foods in Walnut Creek, and realized the city needed more locations for natural and organic foods, Yamamoto said.
In the last few weeks, Yamamoto has been front and center putting up merchandise and getting Sprouts departments ready to go, including bulk foods. "It's a nice opportunity to help and learn other departments," she said. She did an orientation in the Sprouts store in Dublin. Yamamoto has one of 85 jobs Sprouts has brought to north Walnut Creek.
The first day includes specials, including a host of items offered for a dollar such as frozen Amy's Burritos and small seedless watermelons. The first 500 customers will get a booklet with a coupon for five free sandwiches.
Sprouts, based in Arizona, has been adding sites in Northern California in the last two years — in the Sacramento area and Dublin and Sunnyvale.
Later openings are coming for other outlets in the center, including a Habit Burger Grill and Freebirds World Burrito.