MISSOULA – "Foodies" will a ball when the new Missoula Lucky’s Market opens next month. but along the way, even people who consider getting groceries a chore are probably going to have fun.
These are busy days at the new Lucky’s Market in the Southgate Mall. While only application of the finishing touches remain on the exterior, inside the store hundreds of thousands of products must be inventoried and placed in anticipation of the opening May 2nd.
Even so, walking through the store gives you a sense of the enjoyment — the almost playful attitude — that’s become the hallmark of the Colorado-based company.
"Shopping for most people is a chore. We’re trying to make it fun. Offer great products at low prices. You know, food is a right not a luxury," store director Chad Johnson said.
That sense of celebration and discovery is evident throughout the store. From the massive bulk foods section to the produce department with its roll-up doors to create a Farmer’s Market atmosphere, Lucky’s aims for local flavor.
"Yeah, we source a lot of local. That’s one of our biggest things when we go into a new town. We want it grown here, not flown here," Johnson said.
At the heart of the store, a state-of-the-art smoker is ready to go, "Yeah, our most important piece is the smoker. We smoke all our bacon in-house. We smoke our sausages. We make our sausages in-house. We do all our deli meats in the smoker. So yeah, it smells good in here once we get it up and cranking," Johnson said.
The shelves are being stocked with thousands of items, whether its groceries or the "mix your own" Apothecary Department. And there are Lucky’s brand items everywhere, with a "giving back" approach.
"Ten percent of the sales from any of our Lucky’s branding goes right back into the community. And that’s on top of our Bags for Change program, our Community Impact Days. But every day ten percent of those sales goes right back to the community," Johnson said.
Obviously, groceries are a big part of Lucky’s Market. But there’s also more than just groceries here. There’s also a big area devoted to the consumption and enjoyment of food.
A full third of the store is devoted to a sprawling deli, where customers can order of pizzas, sandwiches and other specialty items. Even a special ramen and sushi bar, and plenty of room to savor the flavors.
"What’s really cool about us, and it’s a little more labor intensive, but we make things from scratch. So we’re back there making the kale cakes, we’re doing the twice-baked potatoes, we’re baking them, we’re scraping them and putting them back in," Johnson said.
"Yeah, yeah. I hope to have people singing and dancing back there. You know, working that deli counter," he added.
The new Lucky’s Market will open with a "bacon cutting" ceremony at 10 a.m. on May 2 with more events throughout that day, and the entire month.