El Jebel’s supermarket mayhem | AspenTimes.com

El Jebel’s supermarket mayhem

EL JEBEL Shoppers at the El Jebel City Market will only have to deal with disarray for six more weeks until an expansion is completed and the supermarket is reassembled.A 9,000-square-foot expansion to the store’s southerly side will be completed by May 23, according to Trail Dougherty, a spokesman for City Market and its Colorado affiliate, King Soopers. Both companies are owned by Kroger.The expansion will increase the size of the store from 52,000 to 61,000 square feet. It will create more space for existing departments like health and beauty products, the deli and bakery and a specialty meats and cheese section, Dougherty said.The El Jebel City Market is the chain’s flagship store in the valley. It’s larger than sister stores in Carbondale and Aspen and slightly bigger than the Glenwood Springs market. Dougherty said the expansion will bring the El Jebel store in line with the chain’s newer supermarkets around the state with a contemporary layout.The expansion will also allow the opening of a Starbucks, Dougherty said. A coffee shop will open in a space to the customer’s left as they enter the store, past the service desk to where Verizon Wireless was formerly located. Starbucks officials couldn’t be immediately reached for comment on their plans for the spot.The completion of the project will bring relief to shoppers who have learned to expect the unexpected at the store during the last half of the winter and into this spring. Shoppers sometimes found whole shelves relocated and some of the groceries rearranged from one day to the next while the store staff dealt with the construction and prepared for the new layout.The parking lot is providing the latest surprises. A contractor for the grocer is converting the parking to angled spaces. The traffic flow will be changed to one-way once the stripping for all spaces is completed.City Market’s expansion comes at a time when midvalley competition might blossom. The developers of the Willits Town Center, just upvalley from City Market’s home in Orchard Plaza, are pursuing a specialty grocer. Sources have indicated that Whole Foods may be signed as a tenant as soon as next month.Dougherty said those rumors had nothing to do with City Market’s project in El Jebel. “We had been looking at the expansion for some time,” he said.The chain’s land-use approval from Eagle County in the early 1990s anticipated an eventual expansion. Basalt honored that approval after annexing the supermarket and surrounding commercial area.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com

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