Lucky’s Farmers Market, based in Boulder, Colo. is setting up shop where the Osco Drug building used to sit. Aside from possibly creating about 100 jobs, the opening of the grocery store fills another need in Columbia.
According to Luis Zamora, Southwest Regional Director of U.S. Department of Agriculture, Columbia’s considered to have limited grocery options. Bo Sharon, president of Lucky’s Farmers Market, says the new store should help alleviate the issue.
“You know what we sell and what we offer is consumable by all. And the best way to put it is: We offer great food at great prices.” Sharon says.
Some downtown businesses owners say they’re interested in Lucky’s scheduled opening in October. Carrie Gartner, executive director for The District, says rather than compete with local restaurants for business Lucky’s expands a chef’s ability to emphasize locally sourced food from the surrounding farm communities.
“The strength of a lot of our current businesses particularly restaurants for providing like locally sourced food, farm to table meals, so that really plays into what they’re offering,” Gartner says. “So I can see this really working in conjunction with what we already have now.”
Gartner says that the presence of amenities such as grocery stores downtown only increases the demand for living space in the area. Bo Sharon says proximity played into the location selection strategy for his store.
“In driving the town, it’s pretty accessible, from our point of view. So we believe we put on a different experience than anybody else in there,” Sharon says. “So hopefully, it’s kind of a central point everyone can get to.”
And that accessibility and centralization is what’s key. Columbia Development Services Manager Patrick Zenner says the installment of a localized grocery store downtown could lead to further growth and urbanization.
“The grocery store’s location will fill a number of objectives that exist in continuing to enhance downtown development,” Zenner says. “As well as there has been a pronounced desire for a downtown grocery store by residents for a period of time.”
Zenner says this downtown development, coupled with the increase in housing, could offer a wider appeal to all ages of Columbia’s citizens.
Timothy Burgess, sales associate at downtown Columbia’s locally sourced food store, The Root Cellar, says he’s not worried about losing business because The Root Cellar caters to more of a niche market.
This story originally aired as part of Business Beat, a weekly program about business and economics in mid-Missouri.