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Iowa City in luck with new market

BY RAPHAEL GELFAND | JUNE 23, 2015 5:00 AM

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Come July, Lucky’s Marketplace will add some new variety to the Iowa City Marketplace.

Formerly known as Sycamore Mall, the Marketplace was once the center of the community, said Lucky’s assistant manager Ty Medema.

“Sycamore Mall was known as a hot spot 20 years ago,” he said. “This is a great opportunity to bring some of that back to the neighborhood.”

Currently scheduled to open July 1, Lucky’s Market originally planned to open its doors on June 17. Store manager Troy Bond said the delay was caused by the implementation of a new inventory system.

The company is originally from Boulder, Colorado, and started by husband and wife duo Bo and Trish Sharon as a little corner market, with an external bakery and café.

Over the past few years, Lucky’s has decided to expand, and it now operates in more than 10 states, primarily in college towns where communities emphasize higher-education, healthy living, and natural ways of healing.

“We are going to have a wide variety of organic and conventional produce at reasonable price,” produce manager Kevin Erhardt-Hansen said. “We want to make sure all people can shop here; healthy quality food should be a right, not a privilege.”

Lucky’s will also house a juice bar, as well as something called the “Sip and Stroll” program, in which of-age customers can drink on-tap local beers as they walk through the store.

One of the major competitors during the summer and fall months for many Iowa City produce stores is the Iowa City Farmers’ Market.

“First thing people are introduced to when they walk in is the produce department,” Erhardt-Hansen said. “We want to make it like they are walking through a farmers’ market.”

Bond said Lucky’s will bring in 10 percent of its produce, meat, and baked goods from local sources.
A large percentage of the store is devoted to food cooked on site and catering. The kitchen will have a deli, pizza station, bakery, and sushi bar.

One of the departments that could make Lucky’s stand out is its unique bulk-goods section, which occupies almost a fifth of the grocery side of the store.

“It’s a neat new way to shop,” Medema said. “You can take a bunch of different ingredients and actually have some fun with it; customers can mix together certain products however you want.”

Medema, who has lived in Iowa City for the last 15 years, is an alumnus of the University of Iowa.

“I live on this side of town,” he said. “So I’m really excited for us to have something like this here; this store really speaks to Iowa City.”

Lucky’s plans to work with local nonprofits, and it has a program in which if customers bring their own reusable bags, they are given a choice to pick which local charity Lucky’s donates to.

Lucky’s plans to donate $20,000 to charity the day of its grand opening.


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