- Leevers Locavore has opened its first location in Denver, Colorado, serving the city's Highland and Sunnyside neighborhoods, the Denver Post reported. The employee-owned, experiential concept combines a grocery store with three restaurants, a coffee shop and a beer and wine bar.
- The 18,000-square-foot market offers locally sourced products, including meats from local butcher River Bear American Meats and succulents from Buckley House of Flowers. Local brewers, bakers, farms and other producers are represented in the store's product assortment.
- The banner is owned by Leevers Supermarkets, Inc., which operates several Save-A-Lot stores in Colorado as well as Colorado Ranch Market and Leevers Food stores in North Dakota. The company plans to open additional Locavore locations around Denver.
Leevers wanted to design Locavore as a place for the people to gather and enjoy local food and beverage, but also to build a grocery store for the neighborhood that offers basic necessities. The company surveyed local residents and found they wanted "just a grocery store," the Post reported.
Leevers' other stores follow a more traditional grocery format. The Locavore concept mixes grocery store with food hall and markets itself as a place to relax with a cup of coffee or have a meeting or date night. Customers can also sip on a glass of wine or a beer while they shop. The store's "chop shop" offers cut fruits and veggies for shoppers on-the-go.
The store was built in a former Save-A-Lot location in a building dating back to 1951.
The store takes its eat local ethos very seriously. Its website encourages people to shift their spending away from "mass-produced products" and toward "Colorado-based producers" instead. Though maintaining a locally made inventory may be more expensive, shoppers are often willing to pay a bit more for the quality they perceive in local goods.
Downtown grocery stores have an opportunity to become destinations not just for shopping but also for dining and socializing. Kroger opened its new Kroger on the Rhine store in downtown Cincinnati in September with multiple in-store dining options. Raley’s has had success with its wellness-focused Market 5-ONE-5 concept in downtown Sacramento, California, with both kombucha and wine on tap. Hy-Vee's Fourth + Court store in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, caters to city dwellers in a mixed-use building.
Adding experiential elements is one way to keep physical stores relevant at a time when more shoppers are shifting their spending online. Through a community-driven approach and a store design that is warm and welcoming, smaller independent stores, like Locavore, have the opportunity to build a loyal fan base and drive spending.
A previous version of this story misidentified Leevers' store size and the neighborhood where it is located. It is 18,000 square feet and is located in Denver's Highland neighborhood.