“Keep your face to the sunshine,” said Helen Keller, “and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.”
No shadows today at the Sunflower Farmers Market, which opened this past Wednesday in Oklahoma City to what was reported to be just this side of a literal crush of shoppers. Certainly this afternoon they were bunched up tighter than retail asparagus.
It didn’t take too long, however, to see who their regular customers are going to be:
- People who resist the tyranny of brand names;
- People who like the idea of health-food stores but who want to pick up some BBQ fixin’s on the way;
- People who have been waiting all their lives for a Whole Foods and couldn’t wait any longer.
And with an actual Whole Foods opening later this year, it was imperative for Sunflower to strike first. With the local grocery market shifting a bit Walmart, which has roughly half the volume, is not growing much, while people who wouldn’t be caught dead in a Walmart seem to be on the increase I’m thinking that Sunflower’s odds are good. To see if their goods are odd, I bought fruit both fresh and dried, an item from the meat department (bone-in ribeye, if you must know), and a no-sugar-added pie from the bakery, on the basis that these might be the items over which the local store would have the most control.
But the most telling story right now is parking. (Store staff are being told to park across 63rd in French Market Mall to preserve customer spaces.) I had unusually good fortune today, in that I had almost no wait time for a space; as I took the first turn, there was a Mini backing up. And I don’t mean one of those pricey BMW-built creatures, either: I’m talking a real live British Morris Mini Minor, presumably not blessed by John Cooper. To the three basic types of Sunflower customers, add “3½. People who were retro long before retro was cool.”