This Is the Greatest Grocery Store You've Never Heard Of
Nestled at the base of the mountains in Boulder, Colorado, sits the first Lucky's Market, a small grocery chain founded in 2003 by husband and wife team Trish and Bo Sharon.
Until recently, the store was a local's secret. It was really only revered in the Rocky Mountain region, where a smattering of stores were quietly gaining loyal consumers. But the secret's out. Now with store locations in many areas of the United States (and more coming soon!), chances are that you may have the opportunity to experience the magic of Lucky's market too.
Here's why Lucky's market is simply the greatest.
1. You can drink beer while you shop.
Really! Lucky's offers a rotating selection of local brews that you can purchase in the grocery store for their "Sip and Stroll" program. (Yes, the carts even have built-in cup holders.) It depends on your state laws, but in Colorado I perused the store for organic quinoa and cucumbers while sipping on a delicious kolsch-style low-alcohol beer. Bonus: That pint is just $2 (and 50 cents off on Thursday!), leaving room in your budget to purchase Lucky's special delicacies. Which brings us to ...
2. They make their own in-house bacon.
Forget the thin, flavorless bacon you buy in a shrink-wrapped package. Lucky's smokes their own pork belly right in the store, heavily seasons it, and slices it thick. There are several bacon varieties available, but this Paleo-friendly, sugar-free version is on point.
3. Lucky's private-label line has hilarious packaging.
Who's to thank for the cheeky copywriting on the grocery store's private-label goods, signified by a large red L? Lucky's founder and CEO, Bo Sharon, is often the creative mastermind behind these silly product names, as he writes many of the descriptions himself. There's crushed oregano that says "It's Just Oregano, Officer" and butter-flavored popcorn called "Dazed & Cornfused." Infusing a bit of humor into everyday items sure makes for a delightful stroll through the supermarket.
4. Lucky's donates a portion of the profits from their private-label brand.
With their 10% for Good program, Lucky's donates 10 percent of profits from the private-label brand to local charities. Organizations that work to improve healthy living, youth and education, resilience, or sustainability can apply to receive the funds.
Additionally, one day per quarter, Lucky's runs an Impact Day, in which 10 percent of that day's sales are donated to approved local charities.
5. They have a top-notch pizza deal.
Quite possibly the best pizza deal in town, Lucky's offers two slices for just $5. And these aren't any run-of-the-mill slices, either — these are house-made, hand-tossed pizzas topped with Lucky's signature sauce and high-quality ingredients. Throw in a $2 beer and you have a complete meal for just $7. In this day and age, that is ridiculously cheap.
6. Lucky's doesn't judge.
One of the most notable attributes about Lucky's is that they don't have a dogmatic attitude when it comes to food and health. While most (around 99 percent) of the store features natural products that contain certification labels like USDA Organic, Fair Trade USA, and Non-GMO Project Verified, Lucky's also stocks some conventional items, such as Cheerios.
"We have the crazy notion that we shouldn't adopt a holier-than-thou attitude if your grandma's recipe calls for something that doesn't fit some people's idea of what's good for you," explains Lucky's mission statement. I love the idea of flexibility when it comes to eating patterns — this mindset makes healthy eating accessible to more people, and it's more forgiving.
7. They have a cool bag donation program.
As part of an effort to curb plastic and paper bag waste, in Boulder you have to pay 10 cents to "buy" a grocery bag. Lucky's further incentivizes shoppers to bring a cloth grocery bag to the store by donating that 10 cents to a local organization. Bring your bag? The cashier will give you a wooden "dime," which you can donate in the store to a local non-profit, such as Intercambio, an organization that provides English classes and integration services to immigrants. At the end of the month, Lucky's doubles the donations at the end of each quarter, which meaningfully adds up.
8. Lucky's prioritizes local producers and manufacturers.
Cute shelf talkers posted around the store near specific local items tell the story behind the product. Lucky's values sourcing unique, local foods because it supports the community, and improves transparency around food. For example, this shelf talker features Koel Thomae, founder of the yogurt brand, Noosa. I love how Lucky's indicates how many miles away from the store the product comes from, and distinguishes whether the ingredients, manufacturing facility/farm, or headquarters are local. In Noosa's case, it's all three.
9. There's an apothecary bulk bar.
Make your own salves, tinctures, tea blends, and elixirs with Lucky's ultra-fun apothecary bar stocked with functional ingredients including USDA Organic calendula, milk thistle, elderberries, and more. Lucky's even stocks beeswax beads and french green clay (great for skin-soothing face masks!), allowing you to experiment with making your own lip balms and beauty products.
10. Lucky's is coming to a town near you!
While Lucky's got its start in Boulder, Colorado, the supermarket chain is growing rapidly — from Columbus, Ohio, to Coral Springs, Florida, new store locations are popping up. This is partly due to a strategic partnership with Kroger announced in 2016 designed to significantly accelerate store openings. Head to Lucky's website to check if there's a store near you.
Have you been Lucky's? Tell us what you love about it in the comments below!