MISSOULA – The founders of Lucky’s Market opened the chain’s new Missoula location on Wednesday with the flash of a knife through store cured bacon just minutes after donating thousands of dollars to local non-profits.
The new store at the Southgate Mall is officially open after months of construction and anticipation. And how did Lucky’s make it “official”? No boring ribbon cuttings here, just bring on the bacon.
With an enthusiastic “thank you” to employees and community leaders, Lucky’s founders Bo and Trish Sharon presented checks for more than $10,000 to Garden City Harvest, Youth Homes and the Open Aid Alliance.
The chain uses multiple programs, such as “Bags for Change” and donating a portion of profits for Lucky’s branded products to raise the money. The owners also pointed proudly to their new Missoula-hired crew.
“We hired 150 folks from Missoula,” Lucky’s Market founder Bo Sharon said to applause. “To hire 150 local people from the community, that know the community far better than us, we could ask for more to be honest with you.”
As the throngs of hungry shoppers fanned out to taste the samples, order freshly prepared food and marvel at the artful produce displays, MTN News asked Sharon what his favorite part of a Lucky’s Market is.
“First of all, we love food, and we love good food. So we cook everything from scratch here in our delis. We roast all of our meats. We smoke all of our bacon. Everything’s done here on site. So that freshness and deliciousness is just…you can smell it in the air,” Sharon said. “So, it’s by far our favorite thing. It’s what we’re passionate about it and what I think we do far better than anybody else.”
The Sharon’s came into the grocery business as chefs, growing the stores across 11-states. That background in understanding the food supply is unique…
“There are a lot of moving parts to it, from where you get that food. From where it’s grown to how it’s nurtured, to how it’s going to nurture your body and take care of yourself,” Lucky’s Market founder Trishg Sharon explained.
“When we first heard that Lucky’s Market was coming to Missoula we thought that might be a pretty good fit. After all, Missoula has similarities with Boulder, Colorado where the chain was founded. Missoula has a college, mountains and Missoulians love fruits and vegetables.
That point wasn’t lost on Trish Sharon, “it reminds me a lot of Boulder. Everybody’s so welcoming and so nice and it’s just refreshing.”
“A natural food store in Missoula goes hand in hand. Yeah, it just feels like home,” Bo Sharon added.
Lucky’s anchors the newly re-developed southern end of Southgate Mall and is expected to create more of a “neighborhood” feel for the mall going forward in the future.
Reporting by Dennis Bragg for MTN News