After a decade of dormancy and decay, Lucky’s Market officially breathed life into Columbia’s most depressing corner this morning, opening their cheery doors for business at 8:00 am. The Colorado-based, full service grocery store focuses on high quality, organic and, when possible, locally-sourced foods. On a tour last night both beverage manager Marcie Davenport and the marketing manager, Shelly (doh, last name no get!) said that while Lucky’s aims high, they desperately want to remain accessible to the entire community.
“I really want to put good food in people’s hands,” she said, adding “Lucky’s is a judgement-free zone. We’re not here to preach.” For a store that owes at least a small debt to spendy shops like Whole Foods, Lucky’s may be better equipped to do that than you think. Two pints of strawberries were on special for $.88. Mom’s Best cereals were two for $3. Store-baked* breads were $5…for two loaves. They will run “ridiculous” weekly specials like this to draw customers in for fresh produce. Word is $.19 mangoes are on the way.
The meat and deli sections will appeal as well. All deli meats are seasoned, cured and smoked in house and meat is sourced locally “as much as possible.” A “Made in Missouri” placard designates local (or at least state-produced items) throughout the store. The butcher section is currently helmed by the head meat manager for Lucky’s corporate office, who is training the staff. Guys, the meat – and especially the fish – looks amazing. In fact, go buy some fish there right now. I’ll wait right here.
Davenport says the beverage section will be a work in progress. “We’ll have something for everyone, see what people respond to and go from there. We want everyone to be able to shop here.” And so they can. Customers seeking the Bud Lights and Millers of the world will find a cooler labeled “Old Standbys,” while craft beer aficionados will be able to wet their whistle as well. A quick glance revealed some unfamiliar (to me) brews like Goose Island Ten Hills Pale Ale and hard-ish to find stuff like Ska’s Decadent Imperial IPA. Bottles of Urban Chestnut are in the house. There’s a large wine selection too as well; regular tastings will be held.
Lucky’s is also clearly angling to be more than just a grocery store – they want you to hang out. There’s a “liquid lounge” near the front of the store where you can taste and purchase – and then shop with – coffees, beer or wine. The selection last night included an imperial stout from Perennial, which will improve any grocery store experience. Classes and monthly “tasting fairs” are in the works (the first being January 26).
Produce is understandably light on the local stuff right now, but what they do have is gorgeous, reasonably-priced and diverse (four kinds of beets!). There’s a juice bar in the veggie section too.
All in all, it looks to me like Lucky’s came to play. The staff are helpful and eager to please and will work on the (totally understandable) check-out kinks with a smile and a laugh. They’ll tell you how hard they’ve been working to get the place open. They’re proud. Bottom line: you should check it out. And the grand opening “bacon-cutting” tomorrow at 10:00 am would be a perfect opportunity.
7:00 am – 10:00 pm
111 South Providence Rd
Columbia, MO 65203
Phone: (573) 442-2128
* Lucky’s breads are par-baked at a corporate facility and finished in the store. They look really nice either way. And a variety of Uprise Bakery breads are available for purchase as well.