Lucky’s Market will close Feb. 12 after nearly five years in Powderhorn Plaza.
It’s the latest chain store in Jackson to say goodbye. Kmart, in business in Jackson since 1991, has been having a going-out-of business sale. Its final day is Feb. 16, an employee said. Pizza Hut, which had operated in Jackson since 1983, closed last week.
Local observers see Kmart as a victim of Amazon in a retail world full of business failures, and Pizza Hut and Lucky’s as the losers in a market crowded with competitors.
“It’s a sly tip of the hat to local businesses,” said economist Jonathan Schechter, founder and executive director of the Jackson-based think tank the Charture Institute (and a Jackson town councilor.)
Lucky’s Market headquarters in Niwot, Colorado, did not return calls for comment by press time, but news reports said 32 Lucky’s Markets in 10 states are going away. The supermarkets were once under Kroger’s wing, though the Cincinnati company divested its stake, news reports say.
The Jackson Lucky’s opened in March 2015 in Powderhorn Plaza. Most recently it had 40 employees.
Rumors of its pending demise circulated for months, but up until last week the word from corporate headquarters was that the store had been refreshed and wasn’t going to close.
Jackson Hole, observers say, supported a surprisingly large number of grocery stores for a community of 23,000 residents, even with swarms of tourists to pack the aisles in the summer.
In addition to the big ones — Albertsons, Smith’s Food and Drug, Lucky’s and Jackson Whole Grocer — consumers have smaller options like Aspens Market, Pearl Street Market and Hungry Jack’s.
“I too have wondered how we could have four major grocery stores here and have them all survive,” Schechter said. “Grocery stores operate on tight margins.”
The Jackson Pizza Hut was operating in a niche even more crowded than grocery stores.
In addition to specialists like Domino’s, Hand Fire Pizza, Pinky G’s Pizzeria and Pizzeria Caldera, there’s a long list of restaurants with pizza on their menu, including Calico Restaurant and Bar, Sidewinders American Grill, Dornan’s Pizza Pasta Company, Cutty’s Bar and Grill and Trio An American Bistro. Lucky’s and Whole Grocer also sell pizza.
“Maybe we’re over-pizza’d,” Schechter said.
Businesses like Kmart and Lucky’s get attention because “they are big names,” Schechter said.
“Lucky’s basically closed because it was outcompeted by the local store,” he said, referring to Whole Grocer. “Pizza Hut, too, was outcompeted by local businesses.
“The Jackson Hole community is supporting local businesses, and I think that’s wonderful,” Schechter said.