Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Grocery options expand for shoppers

As Roxy’s Market prepares to open, Atkinsons’ installs upgrades

Express Staff Writer

Roxy’s Market employees Tyler Stewart and Amanda DeShazo stock shelves Tuesday in anticipation of the store’s opening. The store occupies the former Williams Market, which closed five years ago. Photo by Willy Cook

A long-vacant grocery store on Ketchum's Main Street is once again ready to welcome shoppers. Roxy's Market, scheduled to open Friday, June 3, after a series of delays, has been upgraded, stocked and prepped for business.

"It's fabulous," said co-owner Roxanne Lawler, who, with husband, Michael, owns the Ketchum store and another market in Aspen, Colo. "It's going to be a whole different experience than the valley's ever had."

The building had been vacant since the fall of 2005, when Williams Market closed after 12 years in business.

The new tenant will bring increased activity to the high-profile section of the city at Main and First streets, near the southern entry to town.

"We're hoping it's a good fit for everyone," Roxanne said, declining to give specifics. "I can't give too much away. It's kind of like a wedding gown. You don't want people to see it 'til you're walking down the aisle."

The slow economy did not dampen the Lawlers' interest in opening the Ketchum market.

"A lot of people would think we're crazy," she said. "But we'd like to be considered part of the change, part of the renewed vitality. People are really excited about doors opening rather than doors closing."

She said the store will employ nearly 30 people.

"We're thrilled with the opportunity to provide great jobs," she said. "The team we've hired, they're just outrageous. We are so fortunate. These are top-notch people."

With experience in the industry, Lawler said, she and her husband are able to address any problems that may arise.

"This is not our first business venture," she said. "We like the challenge of a small business. Everything we do is a labor of love. It's a fun thing for both of us."

Another, well-established grocery store also is undergoing changes. Shoppers familiar with Atkinsons' Market will see new options in the Ketchum store.

"We're expanding some departments and adding updated cases," said co-owner Chip Atkinson, whose family has stores in Ketchum, Hailey and Bellevue. "We know we're short in terms of capacity."

He said the new cases are more efficient and have increased capacity. They'll allow for expanded variety and better organization of products, he said.

Atkinson said they've been working on their upgrade plans for a couple of years.

"We're always looking at what we can do," he said. "The hardest part is coming off of two and a half, three years of hard economic times. We can't do everything we'd like to do."

Customers perusing the updated aisles said they liked what they saw.

"This is an improvement," said Scott Smith, who was looking around the new walk-in beer cooler.

Atkinson said he welcomes the new grocery store.

"We're happy somebody has taken the opportunity to put something in that building," he said. "It's been terrible having it empty for five years."

He wished the new owners success.

"It's pretty exciting for the Roxy's people," he said. "The Lawlers are good, smart people."

Rebecca Meany:

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