As the first anniversary of the King Soopers shooting approaches next month, officials unveiled the newly redesigned south Boulder grocery store set to reopen Wednesday.
With a new entryway, large windows and lifted ceilings, grocery store officials hope the new design will offer a bright, open market feel for people who work and shop at the store on Table Mesa Drive. The redesign also includes space for a memorial garden that will commemorate the 10 people who were killed there in a March 22 mass shooting.
The changes were largely inspired by feedback from King Soopers employees and community members. As the grocery store began to work on its redesign plans, it solicited recommendations that informed decisions throughout the redesign process.
The store no longer has the familiar King Soopers design. Instead, it has more natural light and an open feel. That’s all thanks to suggestions from the community, according to spokesperson Jessica Trowbridge. She said many people expressed a desire for a store with an open design and natural light that captured the view of the mountains.
Instead of an east and west entry, the new design features a central “grand vestibule,” with a large mural of the Flatirons painted by local artist Lael Har greeting people as they enter the store.
Other updates inside the store include a larger floral department, an updated Starbucks kiosk and an expanded produce section.
Additionally, the parking lot has been reconfigured with a “totally new flow,” Trowbridge noted.
There have been safety enhancements at the store, but Trowbridge did not elaborate on any specifics, saying it was proprietary information that could not be revealed without potentially putting the store at risk.
“We will remain committed to making sure that we have a safe working and shopping environment,” Trowbridge said.
For some, the store’s reopening is a necessary step in the community’s healing journey.
This particular grocery store, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this summer, has been in Christine Chen’s life since was a child. She remembers coming to shop there with her grandmother who lived in the neighborhood. Now it’s her neighborhood grocery store.
She said she’s excited to have a convenient space to shop again, but it goes deeper than that. For Chen, the south Boulder King Soopers is more than a grocery store. It’s a community hub where she knows the employees and is bound to run into a neighbor.
“I’m really happy to see it reopen, although I know it will engender complicated feelings from lots of people, including, likely, myself when I walk in,” Chen said.
Trowbridge echoed these sentiments. That’s part of the reason the store has officially been dubbed the “Table Mesa King Soopers.”
“This is a special location,” she said.
The memorial for the 10 people who lost their lives is an important aspect of the redesign in Chen’s view.
Trowbridge said it’s something the store heard a lot, too. She said the store received many suggestions to bring life to the space, including a lot of recommendations about planting trees.
In June, the Table Mesa King Soopers will open a remembrance tree garden on the west corner of the parking lot with 10 trees in honor of the lives lost. Right now, a sign indicates where the garden will be planted.
Ahead of reopening on Wednesday, the Table Mesa King Soopers will host a ceremony at 9 a.m. at the grocery store.