A new grocery store specializing in organic and natural foods opened its doors in Missoula on Tuesday, a soft opening to ensure all systems were go for Wednesday’s public debut.
“We’ve been stocking shelves, making sure everything is ready to go and is bright and shiny,” said Sarah Greengross, the regional marketing specialist for Lucky’s Market. “We’re excited to be in Missoula.”
Lucky’s announced its intention to open a second Montana location at Southgate Mall last February, and crews have been busy ever since transforming half of the old Sears building into Missoula’s latest grocery option.
The new store, which covers 32,000 square feet, employs roughly 150 people.
“One of our models with store openings is that we typically go into existing buildings to revitalize the building or shopping center – a mall in this case,” said Greengross. “No one Lucky’s store looks alike on the outside.”
The store may be unique on the inside as well, with its light and spacious arrangement and array of products. It offers an apothecary, organic fruits and an expansive bulk food section with an array of dried goods.
The deli may be the largest in Missoula, with oven-baked pizzas, made-to-order Ramen, sushi and other offerings, including meat cut and smoked in house.
“We smoke our own bacon, and we smoke our deli meats in house,” said store director Chad Johnson. “We make our own sausages. We have Cold Smoke beer brats right now and we cook from scratch recipes. Nobody’s really doing that any more.”
Lucky’s marks the second new addition to Southgate Mall this year, following the February opening of the AMC dine-in theater next door.
Sears left the mall in 2015 and the building was purchased by Southgate Mall Associates, which sold the mall in February to the Washington Prime Group for roughly $58 million.
While the addition of Lucky’s fills a portion of the vacant Sears building, Herbergers – another anchor tenant – is liquidating its inventory as it prepares to close as part of a bankruptcy process that began last month.
For now, the addition of Lucky’s has helped revitalize the mall’s exterior and diversify its attractions.
“We offer fresh, quality items at accessible prices, and a sense of humor,” said Greengross. “We want our customers to have fun. We don’t want grocery shopping just to be another item on your to-do list.”