Lucky’s Market, a natural foods grocery chain based in Boulder, Colorado, celebrated the grand opening of its latest store in East Naples on Jan. 13 with a bacon cutting — not a ribbon cutting — and waves of happy customers eager to get their hands on the shop’s goodies.
Fruits and vegetables were stacked high on produce displays. Employees working the juice bar near the center of the store prepared fresh grapefruit and orange juices and bottles of water infused with fruit. Shoppers browsed Lucky’s selection of hot prepared foods and deli items behind shiny glass displays.
Store director Todd Kerscher said the company strives to live up to its unofficial motto, “Good Food for All,” by focusing on good produce.
“The founders and our team want to help people have healthy lifestyles by providing the good foods they need at good prices,” he said.
The store offers a wide selection of organic and gluten-free foods. Shoppers can enjoy wine or beer while browsing the store’s departments.
“Grocery shopping is a chore,” Kerscher said. “We want it to be an experience.”
As evidenced by the ceremonious cutting of a massive strip of pork belly, Lucky’s is big on bacon. They cure and smoke their own; it takes about a week for it to be retail-ready.
“I’m not always popular at home with my wife, but when I bring home our bacon, it fixes everything,” Kerscher joked. “We hang our hat on it.”
The market offers a variety of meats and fresh seafood, even octopus.
In the store’s kitchen, shoppers will find prepared cold and hot dishes, a salad bar and an olive bar. Lucky’s bakes their own pizza, using their hand-wrapped mozzarella cheese.
There are also food items that are semi-prepared, like seasoned and breaded chicken breasts or jalapeño-stuffed burger patties.
“We have things semi-prepared so people can take them home and finished them off on a pan or grill,” Kerscher said. “Or we can do all the work and they can go home, serve it on a dish and take the credit. We encourage that. We do a lot of things in-house to add value to what we offer and make things more convenient.”
The apothecary offers vitamins, probiotics, over-the-counter medications and body care products.
At every step, there’s someone offering samples and asking to help shoppers find what they’re looking for.
The store’s private label of products ranges from deli cheeses to canned and bottled goods to coffee. Lucky’s donates 10 percent of proceeds from purchases of its private label to local organizations.
On Wednesday, Lucky’s donated more than $10,000 to local charities. Blessings in a Backpack, an organization that provides food for the weekend to elementary school students, received $5,000. Bikes for Tykes and the Harry Chapin Food Bank received $3,000 and $2,500, respectively.
“We want to be good neighbors and give back to the community for all its support,” Kerscher said.
The Naples store is the second location to open in Florida. The Gainesville store opened at the beginning of 2015, and locations in Coral Springs, Orlando and Plantation are being planned.
Lucky’s founders, Bo and Trish Sharon, started Lucky’s in 2003 and now have stores in 11 states. They were on hand to help usher in the new store.