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Sunflower offers discount groceries
May 9, 2018

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Lisa and Paul Crawford understand that it's a little much to expect someone to pay $4 for a box of cereal, when they can get the same item for a third of that.

It may be past the manufacture's date stamp or the box might have a ding, but the content is still good - and that's what the Crawfords hope to teach people.

Sunflower Discount Surplus Market at 1001 Palm Ave. on the corner of Hancock Bridge Parkway where the old Snowbird Station was, is basically what the name implies.

They sell surplus or "scratch and dent" items from the shelves of other grocery stores, whether they be overstocks, old branding, seasonal or past the manufacturers date stamp on the box.

"We're trying to educate the public those dates or manufacturer suggestions and not expiration dates," Lisa Crawford said. "Our idea is to get good quality food to people who want to save money on their groceries."

Crawford said she was always interested why so much food is wasted when there are so many starving people in the world.

"It seemed like one solution to two different problems. Four billion tons of food end up in our landfills every year and there are people who struggle with paying for groceries," Crawford said

The Crawfords came from Colorado, where the concept is very popular, and Ohio, where the Amish started it.

When they moved here two years ago, they discovered there were no surplus grocery stores in the area. They mulled the idea of opening a store for more than a year and fell in love with the building, especially after the Snowbird Station closed.

Sunflower opened May 1 as a completely family-run business and says it can save people at least half on their grocery bill. A box of cereal that ordinarily costs $4 can be had for as little as $1.19.

They sell gluten free, organic and international foods. There's just about everything the typical big box store has, including frozen and refrigerated.

They also sell fresh food in their full-service deli with Troyer Amish meat and cheeses. They make sandwiches, which are very popular with the beachers and boaters on the weekend.

Bread is also brought in daily from Nino's Bakery.

There is also fresh produce, which Lisa said was a demand from people in the neighborhood who used to enjoy the produce from the area, and they also sell beer and wine by the glass so people can sit on the lanai.

Sunflower is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and closed Monday. It will soon have a presence on the internet and an app.

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