Phoenix-based retailer Sprouts Farmers Market Inc. is expanding with leases confirmed for six new stores.

Since its founding in 2002 in Arizona by members of the Boney family, the chain has grown to more than 165 stores. The focus has been in the Southwest U.S. and California, with stores in New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas.

However, in 2014 the retailer plans to spread to the north and east, opening stores in Kansas and Georgia according to a news release.

In Georgia, five stores are planned in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area. Those stores are expected to create 500 new jobs.

The new Sprouts Farmers Market store in Kansas opened Jan. 8 in an upscale suburban shopping center in Overland Park, on the west side of the Kansas City metro area.

Doug Sanders, chief executive officer, said in the news release that the retail chain has become one of the top options for shoppers who want a “small-footprint, natural grocery store.”