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Ain’t no sunshine when you’re gone

Last night my favorite whole foods market looked like it’d been hit by a tornado, and it had nothing to do with the high winds that breezed through Indianapolis two nights ago. No, it’s worse, The Sunflower Market is closing! The Sunflower Market, that had a cute little sunflower logo, the best price on Go Lean! Crunch, and a freezer full of Indian TV dinners. The Sunflower Market, where I shamelessly ate half a mini-pound cake in public for the first time in my life. The Sunflower Market, that sent me coupons for $5 off a $25 purchase. I halfway wish it had been hit by a tornado because then we could blame the elemental forces of nature for this soon-to-be gaping hole in my life and not greedy corporate overlords.

I read an article on Tuesday that the store was closing, so I decided to stop by Wednesday night to see what was left. Not much. I wish I had a camera phone to document the devastation. The sushi bin was as devoid of fish as the muddy pond in my grandparents’ back yard. The fruit section was halfway empty, as if the tropics had been hit by a winter freeze. And all the Go Lean! Crunch was gone (and presumably gone lean). I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to eat my Mango cereal again, since I’ve never seen it stocked anywhere else. The dairy section was pretty hard hit too, so I’m glad I’m not a Fage yogurt addict like everyone else on the planet. There was one last Indian TV dinner sitting alone in the freezer case, so I can say I was the last person to buy Channa Masala at the Sunflower Market, and at 25% off too.

Walking through the store was somewhat fascinating because you could clearly tell what the most popular products were. That’s because they weren’t there. Only the black print on price labels told you what had once dwelled on the shelves. There is a Wild Oats store fairly close to me, so I will soon be visiting them to see if they stock Tandoor Chef’s yummy Palak Paneer (Spinach and Indian cheese in a highly seasoned tomato onion base). I only have one left in my freezer and if Wild Oats doesn’t stock it, I might have to save it for a special occasion. But it’s not all about the food I might no longer be eating. I had a small emotional attachment to this store. I liked the atmosphere, the location. I liked the logo. I liked walking down the Monon Trail, getting some groceries and walking back. It’s the experiences I had coming and going to the store and walking through its aisles that I’ll miss. That, and all those free samples they had on Saturdays. (Hopefully all those cookies I ate that one time didn’t bankrupt them.)

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27 Comments

B Matthews • January 31, 2008 at 9:13 am

OK, that sucks. I move away from Indy and the good stores start closing. It’s all my fault. I just had to go for the better job, the better pay, the warmer winters… what a selfish bitch I am.

I found the Sunflower market a couple of weeks after they opened, nestled into the heart of Broad Ripple. Just down the Monon from my old townhouse, the one that the punk rockers adopted as their home for a while for some reason (there’s nothing like waking up on a lazy Sunday morning to some punk rocker sleeping on your bathroom floor, swaddled in your girlfriend’s bathrobe like a cast off prom dress). Sunflower was right in front of my favorite gaming store, Boardroom games, so I’d go in and have a chat with the store owner for a bit and then walk over to the market and browse in their really, really cool produce atrium or look at the loaves of fresh bread and breathe in their intoxicating, yeasty aroma and smile to myself. My girlfriend was a vegetarian at the time, and I found the best prices on Quorn (yeah, meat substitute, but the carnivore in me didn’t think it was all that bad) in the city at Sunflower.

Good luck with Wild Oats. Try Trader Joe’s too. I like the one on 82nd best of the ones in the city.

Grrr. Sigh. Rest In Peace, Sunflower Market. Damned be to big business, the killer in this murder case.

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Jen • January 31, 2008 at 9:23 am

I am so depressed. The next time I go back to my beloved Broad Ripple the market will no longer be there?! I moved away from Indy just over three years ago, and each time I return for a visit it seems another of my favorite haunts has been forced to close up shop. So sad. Excuse me now, while I go drown my sorrows in peppermint tea.

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Michelle • January 31, 2008 at 9:30 am

I haven’t been there in awhile because I moved to a different part of town, but I’ll miss it.

:(

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dietgirl • January 31, 2008 at 10:25 am

I am sorry for your loss. But PALAK PANEER ohhhhh that is the food of the gods, eh? Sooo nice. I have a recipe for it that I’ve been meaning to try, to get a fix at home :)

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G.G. • January 31, 2008 at 10:54 am

That’s sad:-( But at least you have alternatives!

We’re supposed to be getting a Fresh Market near where I live–it’s a smallish southern chain. I have the sneaking suspicion it may be the first larger-scale whole/gourmet foods store in the state of Mississippi. We had them in TN and FL and I miss them. First place I ever saw brussel sprouts on a stalk.

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Riley & Tiki's Mom • January 31, 2008 at 11:00 am

They are closing all 3 Sunflower Market stores in the Columbus Ohio area too. We still have Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s, & the Raisin Rack, but I will miss Sunflower Market.

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Riley & Tiki's Mom • January 31, 2008 at 11:00 am

They are closing all 3 Sunflower Market stores in the Columbus Ohio area too. We still have Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s, & the Raisin Rack, but I will miss Sunflower Market.

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Riley & Tiki's Mom • January 31, 2008 at 11:00 am

They are closing all 3 Sunflower Market stores in the Columbus Ohio area too. We still have Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s, & the Raisin Rack, but I will miss Sunflower Market.

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Riley & Tiki's Mom • January 31, 2008 at 11:00 am

They are closing all 3 Sunflower Market stores in the Columbus Ohio area too. We still have Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s, & the Raisin Rack, but I will miss Sunflower Market.

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Riley & Tiki's Mom • January 31, 2008 at 11:00 am

They are closing all 3 Sunflower Market stores in the Columbus Ohio area too. We still have Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s, & the Raisin Rack, but I will miss Sunflower Market.

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Riley & Tiki's Mom • January 31, 2008 at 11:00 am

They are closing all 3 Sunflower Market stores in the Columbus Ohio area too. We still have Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s, & the Raisin Rack, but I will miss Sunflower Market.

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Riley & Tiki's Mom • January 31, 2008 at 11:00 am

They are closing all 3 Sunflower Market stores in the Columbus Ohio area too. We still have Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s, & the Raisin Rack, but I will miss Sunflower Market.

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Riley & Tiki's Mom • January 31, 2008 at 11:00 am

They are closing all 3 Sunflower Market stores in the Columbus Ohio area too. We still have Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s, & the Raisin Rack, but I will miss Sunflower Market.

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Janice • January 31, 2008 at 11:12 am

I hate when stores close, or my favourite brand of cereal gets discontinued. I am a creature of habit, and I don’t like people messing with me like that.

I have lost 120 pounds, and reading your blog every day these last few years has been so encouraging. It helped me feel not so alone in my journey. Thanks.

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nancy • January 31, 2008 at 11:44 am

We don’t have anything like this near us. I think there is a Whole foods, but it’s half way between me and work, and not easy to get to. I’m so sorry to hear that it’s closing

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Emily • January 31, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Hopefully the Wild Oats will stay. They got bought out by Whole Foods, and the Wild Oats here closed. As long as it just changes to Whole Foods, all is well.

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lindsey • January 31, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Sunflower Market is the thing I miss very very very most about living in Tucson. I ate like royalty there for $50 a week. I live in Silicon Valley now, and you’d think with all the healthy California lifestyle going on around here, you could find a place that sells bulk healthy goods other than Wholefoods. Nada, except for way far away in the tight little rich-people enclaves up in the hills. My sincerest condolences for you!

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Riley & Tiki's Mom • January 31, 2008 at 11:00 am

They are closing all 3 Sunflower Market stores in the Columbus Ohio area too. We still have Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s, & the Raisin Rack, but I will miss Sunflower Market.

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kazari • January 31, 2008 at 5:07 pm

Losing a favourite shop is such a pain! It means a re-think of your shopping habits, and the foods you eat.

however – palak paneer is not too tricky to make. google it and you’ll find some recipes! I’m not a great indian cook, but i’ve made it successfully – even the cheese : )

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Beverly Carney • January 31, 2008 at 7:02 pm

Perhaps not within walking distance but there are 2 Trader Joe’s stores about 7 miles away from where the Sunflower Market is.

Bev

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Mrs. Duffy • January 31, 2008 at 7:42 pm

Awww, sad day :( I’m spoiled, I have lots of good healthy stores, they just all want to charge me a gazillion bucks for a bag of groceries…

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Zandria • January 31, 2008 at 9:30 pm

I would be so sad if my favorite natural-foods store closed. I hope you’re able to find another one that you like. :)

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ordinary girl • January 31, 2008 at 11:27 pm

I love that song!

Sorry about your store. It really sucks when a place you love goes out of business.

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Liz in Ohio • February 1, 2008 at 8:55 am

RIP Sunflower Market.

In Columbus, Ohio I still have Whole Foods and a few others, but there’s nothing like Sunflower.

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Stephanie Quilao • February 1, 2008 at 3:15 pm

What a bummer. It’s almost like one of your favorite friends is moving away and they’re having a garage sale to clear out the joint. I hear yah on the sentimental attachment. I have those kinds of feelings about some places where I live. Like good comfort food, they’re comfort places (in a happy positive way).

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laura • May 20, 2008 at 4:46 pm

Liz,

I just came upon your comment when I typed into Google my lingering thought….”I miss Sunflower Market”. Although they closed last winter, I still miss them horribly, don’t you? I don’t understand why Columbus couldn’t support their success. The prices were reasonable for the best selection of organic produce around (except, of course, for Whole Paycheck, as I call it) and also a wonderful selection of so many other healthy, reasonalbly priced natural foods and their hand cream was to die for! Am I the only one who feels that sometimes, people in Columbus just don’t “get it”?

Best to you.

Laura

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laura • May 20, 2008 at 4:47 pm

Liz,

I just came upon your comment when I typed into Google my lingering thought….”I miss Sunflower Market”. Although they closed last winter, I still miss them horribly, don’t you? I don’t understand why Columbus couldn’t support their success. The prices were reasonable for the best selection of organic produce around (except, of course, for Whole Paycheck, as I call it) and also a wonderful selection of so many other healthy, reasonalbly priced natural foods and their hand cream was to die for! Am I the only one who feels that sometimes, people in Columbus just don’t “get it”?

Best to you.

Laura

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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