Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Roxy’s Market to reinvent, relaunch

Grand reopening scheduled for Dec. 16

Express Staff Writer

The deli counter at Roxy’s Market was open and ready for business Tuesday. Because of slow sales, the new grocery store is restructuring its ownership and business plan. Photo by Willy Cook

The inaugural year for Roxy's Market in Ketchum has been a tough one.

The building on Main and First streets had been vacant for five years, but after a $1 million renovation, new owners Roxanne and Michael Lawler welcomed customers back into the building in June. Investors had high hopes for the store, but results did not match some people's expectations.

"The original business that opened was not what the community expected or wanted," said Steve Holzman, a minority investor in the market who is transitioning to principal owner and investor. "It wasn't what I expected or wanted."

Holzman said people anticipated a unique specialty market but many didn't see the new store filling that niche.

"I, too, expected something different," he said. "I had that little feeling in my gut that maybe this wasn't working."

Holzman wants Ketchum to have that kind of market, and he is reinventing the store to make it happen.

"That's what we're in the process of doing," he said. "We're looking at every aspect of the customer experience. I want to see this work."

Under review are pricing, locally sourced offerings and other, more subtle aspects of grocery shopping.

"How can we make this better? How can we be as price competitive as we can afford to be?" he said. "We're very cognizant that we need to be more competitive on prices. People are very, very wise when understanding value. It's a question of being competitive on what you're selling."

Adding local produce is another focus.

"We want to be a supporter of Idaho's Bounty and other local farmers ... and businesses," he said. "There are a lot of gradual improvements."

A grand reopening is scheduled for Dec. 16, and, along with a new approach will come a new name.

"We're not ready to go public with the new name yet," Holzman said.

The Lawlers will continue to be involved as minority stakeholders, Holzman said. Roxanne Lawler did not return a call seeking comment by press deadline Tuesday.

Holzman said he is committed to making the store work.

"I want to see a successful business there," he said. "Having a viable market on Main Street is good for the community, and I'm excited about what we're doing. We want to be here for a long time."

Rebecca Meany:

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