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New Mexico’s first Smith’s Marketplace is scheduled to open Wednesday in Los Alamos.
Festivities begin at 7:30 a.m., with music and children’s activities such as face painting and balloon animals. The ribbon cutting ceremony is at 7:45 a.m. and doors will open by 8 a.m.
“This is the culmination of so much planning and work from the community’s standpoint, certainly from our store development standpoint, and it’s just so rewarding to be able to open the store finally, to be able to serve our Los Alamos customers,” said Marsha Gilford, vice president of public affairs at Smith’s Food & Drug. Smith’s is a division of the Kroger Co.
The first 300 people at the store will receive coupons for breakfast items. Smith’s will also hold three raffles throughout the day for iPad giveaways.
Activities will continue all day, with a mariachi band and a DJ onsite from noon to 6 p.m. There will be food sampling throughout the store, in particular at the Murray’s Cheese Shop and the deli.
Murray’s Cheese, the oldest cheese shop in New York City, offers a selection of specialty items, including crackers, dried fruit and an olive and antipasto bar. Murray’s is also opening a grilled cheese counter.
Customers can “try it before they buy it” at the counter and meet local artisans such as Beehive Cheese and Creminelli Fine Meats, who will be featured at in-store events during grand opening month.
“This is the first Murray’s Cheese Shop that we’ve opened up within any Smith’s store in any of our 130 stores throughout seven states. So that’s a big deal for us,” Gilford said. “It’s a cheese shop that takes extensive training and education before you can qualify to open one.”
According to Gilford, those who have passed the training become approved (cheese) “mongers,” identified by their red coats, who “should know everything you ever wanted to know about cheeses.”
Deli offerings include Starbucks coffee, fresh sushi roll, made-to-order pizza, gourmet sandwiches and wraps as well as noodle bowls. Local supplier El Pinto will stock a fresh salsa bar.
Menu offerings for restaurant-style table service will also be available at the wine bar, which will serve beer and wine by the glass.
The 110,600 square -foot Marketplace will hold more than 200,000 items, including an assortment of natural, organic and specialty foods and greatly expanded meat, produce, grocery and bakery items.
New departments include clothing, houseware and décor, school and office supplies, pet products and an array of fresh floral choices.
The new store will also sport a walk-in wine cellar and a drive-through pharmacy.
“The store’s going to have so much,” Gilford said. “I think people are going to be surprised every time they turn down an aisle to see that we carry something that they haven’t been able to get before in Los Alamos.”
This is the third Smith’s in New Mexico to have solar panels, which are anticipated to supply 30 percent of the store’s energy needs.
“It’s pretty important, because we’ve been working very hard to get our stores Energy Star approved. The largest single state that Smith’s has been able to get our Energy Star approvals thus far are our stores in New Mexico,” Gilford said.
Smith’s has reduced its average electricity usage by 34.5 percent since 2000, enough to power 45 average sized Smith’s stores for one year and keep approximately 65,500 metric tons of carbon from being released into the atmosphere.
According to Smith’s, the new marketplace’s economic impact for Los Alamos includes a $30 million construction investment, which utilized many local subcontractors and services. More than 200 new associates have been hired and items from local suppliers will be carried throughout the store.
Lease payments will generate at least $350,000 annually for Los Alamos Public Schools.
To celebrate the store opening, Smith’s will contribute a total of $10,000 in store gift cards and cash to benefit local nonprofit organizations. All Los Alamos nonprofit organizations are invited to enroll in SmithsCommunityRewards.com.
Smith’s is also partnering with the Los Alamos National Laboratory to support its annual “Gus the Bus” school supply drive through Aug.13. Customers can donate school supplies in barrels found at the front of the store.
Since 2006, Smith’s has donated $500,000 to schools in Los Alamos.
Smith’s/Kroger’s also has commitments from Super Cuts and Verizon for leased space at the Trinity Site development, and “several conversations” are ongoing for other spaces.
“The Smith’s Marketplace Store will offer so many options for family needs,” said Jay Cummins, Smith’s president. “We believe it has been worth the wait, and are delighted to now serve our customers with an expanded selection of foods and household items.”