City Market reopens after grocery store remodel | SteamboatToday.com

City Market reopens after grocery store remodel

Halloween and harvest-season items will be front and center when the newly remodeled City Market in Steamboat Springs opens for business this morning.

The grocery store’s seasonal and holiday aisle, formerly tucked into an aisle on the other side of batteries and household supplies, is now directly opposite the entrance, where it can’t be missed.

“It’s really opened up City Market,” President Phyllis Norris said Tuesday. “It’s like a store within a store.”

Shoppers will notice changes in every corner of the store. However, they aren’t likely to be the kind of changes that disorient customers as they look for frozen blueberries or canned gravy.

After two decades, the grocery was due for refurbishing, Norris said.

“This store has had some minor remodeling in the past, but this is the first major remodel. There’s new floor tile and an entire new set.”

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Virtually every display fixture in the store has been replaced. A great deal of thought went into all the changes to ensure they suit the Steamboat customer, Norris said.

The store almost was busier Tuesday than it is on a typical Saturday evening in February, when thousands of vacationing skiers are in town. But there weren’t any customers among Tuesday’s crowd besides the few people picking up prescriptions from the pharmacy. City Market was closed for four days during the remodel, and scores of City Market employees from across Colorado and parts of Wyoming participated in the makeover. Crews worked around the clock to finish up the remodel.

Many product vendors also worked to put the finishing touches on displays.

Norris acknowledged that it’s expensive to shut the store for four days, but she said it’s preferable to inconveniencing customers for a period of weeks.

Replacing all the fixtures necessitated removing the entire inventory and storing it in a fleet of semi-trailers parked in a couple of locations.

“You can’t get the store to what you want it to be any other way, ” Norris said.

“We didn’t want customers to come in and be unable to find what they need. This way, when they come in (today), it will be a new store.”

Norris has been with City Market for 31 years. She can recall when the Steamboat store was downtown, where Soda Creek Mercantile is located, and when this was a traditional ranching community.

Safeway, the other large grocery store in town, completed a remodel earlier this year. Norris said City Market has been remodeling other stores on the Western Slope. Each store is designed as a response to the competition in the market and customer preferences, Norris said. The remodeled Cortez store is different from the nearby Durango store, for example.

“We target our competition in every market, and we target what we need to be in this area,” she said.

There are items that are received more enthusiastically in Steamboat than they are elsewhere, she said.

“Steamboat was one of the first stores where we brought in organic produce,” Norris said. “Now, it’s mainstream. In this store, now, you’ll see organic items in every aisle so people can compare and decide if they want to spend the extra money.”

Steamboat’s cus——tomer base is complex, Norris said, with highly educated residents, free-spending vacationers in winter and a different set of visitors in summer.

The floral department here does very good business, and she expects new emphasis on gourmet meats and seafood to do the same. Gourmet items also do well.

“We sell cheese in this store like you wouldn’t believe,” Norris said.

Accordingly, the imported cheese case near the deli has been made more accessible.

The rear wall of the store was moved back to accommodate expanded meat and bakery areas. The deli counter is longer, and a chef has been brought in to tailor recipes and meal offerings to customers’ desires.

City Market also is trying to tap into a trend officials see taking America by storm.

“We expect one of the biggest Christmas gifts this year to be digital cameras,” Norris said.

In one corner of the store on Tuesday, a technician was putting the finishing touches on a trio of digital photo printing kiosks, each with its own seat, so holiday shooters can quickly convert their digital files into custom enlargements.

— To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com