It’s pretty pleasing to see more and more people getting on board with buying and eating more fresh/organic/local products. I suppose with the logistics and economics making the items more available, a greater number of people will have access to such things. Lexington has already welcomed national chains Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s to it’s fold, and a few weeks ago they were joined by Colorado-based chain Lucky’s, and I was curious to see how it compared.
Being that my free time is a little limited these days, I wasn’t able to experience the grand opening of Lucky’s, and in fact didn’t make it over there until about a week after they had opened. It was about what I expected from a newly-opened business; a pristine, well-organized establishment, brightly-colored displays of produce and fully-stocked shelves. And that’s not a detraction; I love a nice clean shopping environment as much as the next person. And they have a more-than-decent selection of product without it feeling cluttered or overcrowded, even with a steady stream of customers flowing in and out. I appreciate that some stores try to display as much product as possible, but when I’m bumping into items with my cart while trying to dodge a mom and her three kids, it’s time to reconsider your marketing strategy (I’m looking at you, WalMart.)
One of the things I was most impressed with was their actual selection. First, don’t come in to Lucky’s looking for the major name brands, it’s not going to happen. Want some macaroni and cheese? No Kraft here; it’s pretty much all Annie’s and Pirate’s Booty organic – again, not a detraction. I love both of those brands. And I may have missed it, but I didn’t notice a section for cleaning or paper products (i.e., laundry detergent or Kleenex.) So they won’t have everything you’re looking for, but if you’re interested in finding a great variety of high-quality all-natural organic foods, this is your spot. There is also a juice bar, where you can buy already-packaged fresh squeezed juices, or they will do it right there on the spot. And there is a very nice bulk foods section, an in-store café (that serves alcohol), and an adjacent liquor store which I admittedly have not yet visited. Lucky’s even has a respectable representation of local products. But I have to give a particular tip-of-the-hat to the meat and cheese departments; terrific selections and reasonable prices.
So for those of you who haven’t heard of Lucky’s before (like me), here are the Cliff’s Notes: the market was begun in 2003 by a husband-and-wife chef team in Colorado who were tired of having to run to various markets to find exactly what they wanted. The result was Lucky’s, and their primary focus is to make organic and natural foods available to everyone. Indeed, their tagline is “Organic for the 99%”. And the major “water cooler” chatter I heard before they opened was that they would be competing with the aforementioned Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. So how does it compare? On a scale of Trader Joe’s to Whole Foods, I’d put it smack in between. Kind of a “best of both worlds” situation. I also give major kudos to them for their 10% policy; basically, 10% of their profits go back into helping the community. That’s commendable by almost any standard. You can find out more about it (and the store in general) on their site here.
I’ve been to Lucky’s twice, and will definitely be a regular customer. While there are pros and cons, the former far outweigh the latter, at least for me personally. If you live in the Lexington/Bluegrass area – or in any of the ten other states where Lucky’s is located – go check them out. You can shop for items you already love, and find something new and interesting to try for the first time.