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    Armed with $30 Million, Sunflower Farmers Markets Girded for Growth

    BOULDER, Colo. -- Sunflower Farmers Markets, a regional grocery chain founded by Wild Oats founder Mike Gilliland here, said yesterday it has raised $30 million in equity financing to fund a major expansion.

    BOULDER, Colo. -- Sunflower Farmers Markets, a regional grocery chain founded by Wild Oats founder Mike Gilliland here, said yesterday it has raised $30 million in equity financing to fund a major expansion.

    Plans include doubling the number of stores by the end of 2009. Sunflower said it will launch new locations at a rate of up to eight stores per year, creating a company portfolio of 50 stores throughout the West within five years.

    Sunflower, founded in 2002, currently operates 13 stores in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada. The company's format offers a full-service, farmers' market-style grocery store with high-quality natural and organic products at the lowest possible prices.

    The chain secured the funding from PCG Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in La Jolla, Calif.,

    "Our value-driven approach to the natural foods retailing sector has clearly resonated with consumers," said Gilliland, the company's c.e.o. "There is tremendous demand for an alternative to the high-price format that has predominated in natural foods for so many years. Sunflower, offering 'Serious Food at Silly Prices,' fills a genuine need in the marketplace. PCG Capital Partners' investment will enable us to make this differentiated retailing approach available to millions of consumers throughout the Western United States, including new markets in Utah and Texas."

    Agility Partners, LLC, a Sacramento-based investment advisory group specializing in food and consumer products, advised Sunflower Farmers Markets on the transaction.

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