Shoppers were raring to go June 26 when the new King Soopers opened for business at Belleview Avenue and Federal Boulevard.
“We had a line of people waiting for the doors of this store to open to the public for the first time at 6 a.m.,” said Jim Mastroni, store manager. “Customers have told me they are glad we are now open and they are glad to have us back in the community.”
Banners, balloons and pennants outside announced the grand opening of the store. The new facility has about twice as much space as the former King Soopers that had served the location since 1960.
Local resident Margaret Glover pushed her shopping cart, gathering up the items on her grocery list.
“I have been waiting for this store to open since the old store closed last year,” Glover said as she shopped. “This is so much nicer than the old store. This store is brightly and well lit, plus the aisles are nice and wide. I live almost across the street, so this store is very convenient and I am glad it is open.”
Rick Gillit, the Englewood city council member representing the store’s district, attended the grand opening.
“This was a long time coming but the results are very nice. This is a store where my wife would shop. She wouldn’t have come into the old store,” he said. “I am a little surprised that so many customers are here today, but I’m not shocked because this community has been eagerly waiting for this project to be completed.”
There was a grand opening ceremony that included introductions, speeches and cake. Employees passed out slices of cake and cupcakes.
Nick Whiteman smiled and said a free cupcake was a bonus.
“I needed groceries and this is the closest store, so I came shopping. I am pleased with what they did because I think this is really a great store and I am glad to see it open,” the Littleton resident said as he checked out the fresh fruit. “They have so much to choose from in this store. I came with a list but I have already picked up about half a dozen items that weren’t on the list.”
The King Soopers at Belleview and Federal was one of the first stores in the Denver metro area. It was remodeled, but the size restriction kept the store small and limited how many items it could carry.
King Soopers closed the old store in May 2012 and announced the plan to demolish the existing store and construct the new facility, which includes a pharmacy drive-thru and a service station and will be open 24 hours a day.
The room for expansion of the new store required negotiations to lease and demolish the small stores in the shopping center surrounding the King Soopers. Lease negotiations were successful, and stores such as Subway and the liquor store in the center moved to nearby locations.
The construction cost about $17 million. The company also requested and received Englewood’s financial participation of $510,500 to cover the cost of public improvements to utilities. Englewood’s participation didn’t involve spending city funds.
Instead, the council-approved plan will rebate 50 percent of the use tax on furniture, fixtures and equipment and then annually rebate 50 percent of the sales and use tax revenues collected by the store for the first four years the store is open or until the $510,500 target is reached, whichever comes first.
Russ Dispense, president of King Soopers and City Market, attended the grand opening. He said it was like coming home, since he worked at the original King Soopers store at the site in the 1960s, including during the 1965 flood.
“We knew the old store was outdated and it was not meeting the needs of the community so the only realistic option was to demolish it and build a store like this,” he said. “We worked long and hard to make this happen. It was worth it because we have created a good, mainstream store with merchandise to serve the surrounding community.”
Englewood City Manager Gary Sears agreed with Dispense.
“The former store just wasn’t properly serving the community. So, King Soopers stepped up to provide a store that will serve residents in Englewood, Littleton, Bow Mar and the surrounding area,” he said. “The company did a great job creating a large store offering a variety of merchandise. This is a regional store and it is great to see so many shoppers here on opening day.”
Facts and figures
King Soopers building — 80,000 square feet
King Soopers sales floor — 65,000 square feet
Staff — 150 people, including 60 new employees
The store has 350 shopping carts.
It took 75 to 80 trailers of merchandise to stock the shelves.