Natural Grocers plans enter the booze business for the first time this month with the opening of its new supermarket in RiNo.
The store along Brighton Boulevard will host “Cottage Wine and Craft Beer,” a nook where customers can buy specialty alcoholic beverages like craft beer, organic and biodynamic wine and hard cider, according to a news release from the company.
Natural Grocers did not immediately respond to a question about why it was starting to sell alcohol. Several grocery store chains are getting ready for more competitive sales around booze as Colorado prepares to phase out 3.2 beer in 2019.
The Colorado Department of Revenue said Wednesday the liquor license application for the site is still being reviewed and declined to provide additional information.
Natural Grocers’ supermarket at 3757 N. Brighton Blvd. is expected to open July 27 just a day or two after the company says farewell to its location near REI. In true RiNo fashion, Natural Grocers is planning to unveil a mural July 24 at its RiNo store. The art by Ratha Sok will be the company’s fourth mural, a spokeswoman for the store said.
Mayor Michael Hancock is expected to attend a ribbon cutting for the new store at 8:30 a.m. July 27. A muffin tasting event is set to follow until 10:30 am. and an ice cream social is planned after from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The first 100 people in line on opening day will get to spin a prize wheel for a chance to win a variety of gifts, such as NOW supplements, Nova chocolate and Natural Grocers-branded items like cutting boards, cooler bags and coupons to use in the store, the release said.
RiNo is a food desert
The new store is opening near the border of RiNo and Elyria-Swansea, less than a mile southwest of an area the U.S. Department of Agriculture considers a food desert — an area where a significant number of low-income residents are at least a mile away from a supermarket.
“Most of northeast Denver, including RiNo, is a food desert; there simply aren’t enough quality food options within walking distance to the community,” Denver City Council President, Albus Brooks, said in a statement.
Brooks said Natural Grocers is a valuable addition to the neighborhood because of the company’s Colorado ties and ability to educate the community about health and sustainability.
Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc. is a Lakewood-based supermarket operator focusing on organic and natural groceries. Since it started in 1955, the company’s grown to employ more than 3,000 workers and operate 140 stores in 19 states, according to the release.
The company tends to market itself as affordable — a gallon of whole milk starts in the $7 price range and a dozen eggs go for upward of $3.85, according to products listed online at the downtown store. (Not all products had prices associated with them.)
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