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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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New grocery store to replace Kroger on South Industrial

By Margo Levy, For the Daily
Published June 11, 2014

Ann Arbor now has one less Kroger, but the number of grocery stores in the area should hold constant.

The chain grocery store, which previously had three locations in Ann Arbor, closed its South Industrial location Saturday after operating in the area since the 1980s due to contract disputes over the lease. The Plymouth Road and South Maple Road locations will remain open.

However, the lease for the South Industrial property will be taken over by another grocery store: independently owned Lucky’s Market, which currently plans to open in January 2015 after completing renovations on the space.

Lucky's Market founder Bo Sharon, who founded the company in Boulder, Colo., said he started the chain in 2003 with a commitment to fresh food and an emphasis on community. Today, the company has expanded its stores to Ohio, Missouri, Montana and Kentucky.

“We sell natural food at what we call conventional prices, so it’s open to everybody,” Sharon said.

The store will feature local produce and groceries and Sharon said store managers typically have a large degree of autonomy in deciding what they sell and are encouraged to get to know the community and the farmers in the area.

“Each store has the ability to put a product on a shelf,” he said. “We encourage our grocery managers to go to Farmer’s Markets and talk to people and find products.”

He added that, beyond the products they sell, the company also emphasizes community by donating to local organizations or individuals, with each employee having a say in the who receives the funding.

“We create a fund for each store to support their team members, to support the community, their customers and their vendors or anyone else that's in need,” Sharon said.

The company already has some familiarity with several food items within Ann Arbor's food markets — Lucky’s Market currently sells Zingerman's products at many of their stores around the U.S. — and Sharon said overall, the company is looking forward to joining the business community here.

“Ann Arbor just feels like home," he said. "We're just excited to open up."