Opening its first location in Boulder in 2003, the Fortunate’s Market grocery chain comes from the epicenter of Colorado’s pure and natural meals tradition.

In an inverse of a basic Colorado child story, Fortunate’s — tagline “Natural for the 99 p.c” — has performed a great deal of its rising up away from Boulder, setting down roots in different faculty cities like Columbus, Ohio, Ann Arbor, Mich. and Gainesville, Fla.

Co-founders Bo and Trish Sharon opened a second location in Longmont in 2013 and a flagship south Boulder retailer in 2016, however thus far 29 of Fortunate’s 33 places are in different states. Its largest footprint is in Florida, with 15 shops.

Fortunate’s didn’t overlook about Colorado, although, and it hasn’t ceded the state to larger, more-recognizable rivals like Entire Meals or Sprouts. The corporate made its first inroads into the metro space in August when it opened a 35,000-square-foot retailer at 3545 Wadsworth Blvd. in Wheat Ridge. It expects to crack Denver correct in 2019 with a 25,000-square-foot location within the Lowry neighborhood. A Fort Collins retailer is also on observe for subsequent 12 months.

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With momentum and a big, however undisclosed funding from U.S. grocery chief Kroger at its again, Fortunate’s is on observe to grow to be way more acquainted to native shoppers within the close to future.

“Clearly, Colorado’s residence,” Bo Sharon mentioned of his firm’s considerably circuitous path to native progress. “Availability is vital — discovering the best spots, after all, to achieve success. Whereas the Denver market is heavy, there are pockets the place of us aren’t doing what we do, so that’s type of the beginning.”

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Counting pipeline shops — some publicly introduced and a few not — Sharon mentioned Fortunate’s will eclipse 50 places in 2019. It’s not the most important pure and natural grocery chain from Colorado.That distinction belongs to Lakewood’s Pure Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, a publicly traded operator of 149 shops nationwide. However its progress is accelerating.

When Sharon and his spouse give up their jobs as cooks in Las Vegas to take over what was then the North Boulder Market, “we simply wished to be open the following day,” he mentioned. However the retailer started to earn loyal buyers and carve out its discount natural area of interest by listening to prospects. As foodies, the Sharons have been dedicated to carrying a wide array of contemporary, natural produce and meat that has by no means been handled with hormones or antibiotics. However they have been prepared to inventory some common merchandise exterior the well being retailer norm.

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“What we heard is that folk wished natural produce, and so they wished Drano,” Sharon mentioned. “And that type of made sense to us.”

They solely make up about 5 p.c of choices, Sharon mentioned, however Fortunate’s carries so-called “iconic model” items like Coca-Cola, Oreo cookies and Campbell’s Soup. The combination of the wholesome and the acquainted resonated with some buyers looking the Wheat Ridge retailer’s aisles final month.

“I feel it’s only a actually good mixture of Sprouts, Entire Meals and King Soopers multi function place,” Laura Barnette mentioned as she shopped along with her grandson one morning. “It has numerous stuff that I wished.”

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Hyoung Chang, The Denver Publish

Fortunate’s Market carries unique model merchandise with messages to prospects on Oct. 26, 2018.

Fortunate’s method stays on-trend with many different points of the fashionable grocery trade. A couple of quarter of its Wheat Ridge retailer is devoted to ready meals together with a ramen station and the chain’s first scorching taco bar. It’s residence to a big “apothecary division,” a bit carrying quite a lot of self-care items together with jars of scrubs, teas and salves accessible for bulk buy.

Considered one of Fortunate’s marquee choices — its “sip and stroll” program the place prospects should purchase faucet beer to take with them as they store — was undone by Colorado liquor regulation. Solely the south Boulder retailer provides that. Wheat Ridge has faucet kombucha and root beer, although.

Steve Hoffman is the director of Compass Pure Advertising, a Boulder-based advertising and PR agency specializing within the pure and natural merchandise trade. He mentioned Fortunate’s has performed job attracting expertise from the Denver-Boulder space’s pool of pure and natural merchandise professionals to assist help its progress. It’s additionally expanded in a sensible method, going into markets the place some greater rivals may not enterprise.

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