Lucky’s Market Opens

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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

Lucky’s Market
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.


Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

17 thoughts

  1. Whoo Hoo! Thanks for this update. I thought the opening was tomorrow and saved room in my schedule for a visit. Looks like dinner may have to wait tonight as I squeeze in a side trip!

  2. The fish was all farm-raised, FWIW. We were hoping for something closer to Wild Oats and not Fresh Market. Still, the location is convenient.

  3. Just got home from visiting the store. And saw the same thing Zachary did. Farm raised salmon. *sigh*

    And too many of the same products already available at other stores in town. Looks like it is going to be a price war rather than a new and different store. Looks like my sojourns to Trader Joe’s will continue.

    Scott, I’m sort of surprised at your complementary post. Think you need to go with me next time.

  4. I got my comeuppance on fb for making the same response, Scott, thank you very much. 😉

    The fish is what got to me. Farm raised not a good option, especially for a store that says it’s providing good food.

    And yes, like Zac said – the location is excellent.
    Reviving a 10 year old dead store is outstanding!
    The purpose of the store has raised hopes.

    The made-from-scratch sign though I think is somewhat misleading.

    AND it’s still not Trader Joe’s. The frozen foods selection at Lucky’s is the exact same as HyVee which is a whole lot different than what Trader Joe’s carries. Many of the packaged food items can be found on the same shelves as Clover’s, Natural Grocers etc. And items I go to TJ for were nowhere to be found on the shelves at Lucky’s (not TJ brands, but there are some food items I can’t get anywhere else.)

    Ok I’m done complaining. Am sure I will run into you at Lucky’s more times than I run into you at HyVee.

    Peace out.

  5. I would prefer to see wild-caught fish instead of that insipid farm-raised stuff. Anyone with taste knows that salmon and especially catfish that are wild-caught taste infinitely better than farm-raised stuff. I hope they’ll include that stuff.

  6. Hmmm, I was really excited until I read the comments. Is it worth the trek up from Jeff City? I don’t buy much prepared foods, more concerned with the quality and variety of produce, meats, and bulk goods.

  7. It’s a nice grocery store with some cool perks and competitive prices, but I don’t know if I’d drive 30 miles to shop there. Your Schnucks down there is decent…and Weber Meats is great (even if they don’t do much grass-fed).

  8. I ran through quickly late last night. I was hoping to see fresh bunches of aromatic Basil stacked three feet tall. Was disappointed to find clamshell packets. Why are herbs afraid to come to Columbia? I also decided the pork was overpriced by a lot. $6.99 for pork butt and almost every other cut? Maybe they feed the pigs chestnuts and truffles? The 10 pound butt I cooked last weekend only cost $18, I couldn’t have paid for the butt at Lucky’s.

    The place had the feel of Whole Foods and is very nice. I’ll be back for the few things I was glad to see they had and I could afford.

  9. Some tough critics on this thread. Sure, I prefer wild to farmed fish (in most cases)…but I also prefer fresh to tired fish, and the fish at all the other markets looks tired. Three foot tall bunches of basil in the dead of winter? Yeah – let me know when you find those. And then you also want cheap pork? There are a lot of places in Columbia to buy horribly raised cheap pork. Have at it. Or more likely, I’ll see you all at Lucky’s about once a week.

  10. Geeze people. I think its great that there is finally a store in our food desert! Lets just focus on that and let the whining subside. If you are able to harrumph about the fact that it is not whole-oats-joes-fresh enough…I am pretttttty sure you are doing ok.

  11. I know fresh herbs are not impossible to get. Back when Airborne Express had a flight come into Columbia twice a day, I would take big boxes of fresh McCormick branded herbs to US Foods cold food warehouse in Salem to be distributed to their clients. As for the price of pork butt, It’s ok for me and my wife but the dozen people I feed once a week will be getting a more budget minded choices. I’m glad we have Lucky’s though. It’s kind of Whole Foods-lite and I have been wishing for a Whole Foods for years. This helps fill that hole. A Trader Joes would be nice too!

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