Denver City Councilmember Judy Montero and representatives from the Denver Office of Economic Development (OED) and the Denver Department of Environmental Health celebrated the opening of the Colorado Ranch Market grocery store, located at 4860 Pecos St., at a ribbon cutting ceremony today.
Colorado Ranch Market is owned by Leevers Supermarkets, Inc., a third-generation family-owned business that operates seven Save-a-Lot grocery stores in Colorado, including five in metro Denver. Located in the Chaffee Park neighborhood, the new 35,000 square-foot supermarket includes a bakery, produce, dairy, meats, deli and a sit-down eating area. The store is the first location branded under the Colorado Ranch Market name.
“The availability of local grocery shopping options contributes greatly to the physical and economic health of our residents,” said Mayor John Hickenlooper. “This is a definite win for the health and vitality of Chaffee Park.”
The Chaffee Park neighborhood was at risk of becoming a “food desert” — an area severely underserved in grocery markets — following the closing of a grocery store at the 48th & Pecos St. location earlier this summer. Colorado Ranch Market opened at the location in late July.
“We are tremendously pleased to welcome Colorado Ranch Market to the Chaffee Park neighborhood,” said Montero. “What easily could have become an empty storefront is now a refurbished site, providing one of the most essential of shopping needs to our residents. We applaud their investment in this community.”
To address the issue of food deserts, the Denver Department of Environmental Health held the Denver Supermarket Summit last year in partnership with the Colorado Health Foundation and The Food Trust. Designed to explore how government, non-profit organizations and the private sector can work together to maintain and improve the availability of grocery services, the summit brought together more than 45 participants. Representatives from Leevers Supermarkets and the former grocery store met at the summit and began discussions that led to the eventual property sale to Leevers Supermarkets, Inc.
OED assisted with the business expansion by providing wage subsidy funding to support the hiring of four manager positions. Wage subsidies for Colorado Ranch Market were supported through OED’s allocation of American Reinvestment and Recovery Act workforce development funds. Additionally, OED provided regulatory assistance and referrals to financing.
“Leevers Supermarkets is proud to have the privilege of serving the Chaffee Park neighborhood and its residents,” said John Leevers, president of Leevers Supermarkets, Inc. “We are pleased that our participation on the Denver Food Access Task Force could help prevent another ‘Food Desert’ in Denver. This would not have been possible without the help of the Denver Office of Economic Development, the Denver Department of Environmental Health, the SBA and Colorado Business Bank as our local partners. We look forward to providing jobs for the local area as well as farm fresh foods at low prices.”
“Access to labor is a necessary ingredient for all successful business start-ups and expansions,” said LaCharles Keesee, interim director of the Denver Office of Economic Development. “Through our Denver Workforce Center programs, we’re proud to have connected Colorado Ranch Market with resources to meet its job creation goals.”
The Denver Office of Economic Development is dedicated to advancing economic prosperity for the City of Denver, its businesses, neighborhoods and residents. Working with a wide variety of community partners, OED operates to create a local environment that stimulates balanced growth through job creation, business assistance, housing options, neighborhood redevelopment and the development of a skilled workforce.