It Took a Village: New Clark’s Market Takes Hold in Snowmass
The strategy employed by Clark’s Market when opening a new store is to take a best guess at the product mix and then adapt it through customer requests and feedback, something large supermarket chains don’t do, says company President Tom Clark Jr.
Founded in Aspen in 1978, Clark’s Market has eight stores, including its newest in the Snowmass Center at Snowmass Village. It opened in July 2014 after a three-month closure for renovation and expansion of the previous Village Market space. The new store is “absolutely unrecognizable” from the old, says Clark, with warm inviting wood floors, LED lighting of different shades tailored to each space, metro shelving that holds 20 percent more product than typical grocery-store shelving, and state-of-the-art refrigeration.
Customer requests over the first 15 months in business have resulted in “hundreds and hundreds” of items now stocked in the store, says Clark.
Customers also benefit from an expanded selection (Clark estimates three to four times more in the frozen section alone), a produce section three times the size of the old one, a coffee bar, specialty and local foods sections, a home-delivery program and delivery of prescriptions from the Aspen Clark’s Market pharmacy.
Other hits have been the fresh-squeezed OJ program, which Clark says has “an incredible following,” the soup and salad bar and housemade salsa, guacamole and hummus. Deli and kitchen staff have the freedom to make soups and foods based on the season or availability of ingredients.
Clark also praises the skills of the butchers, who cut and package meats in the store, and the sushi staff (almost all members of the same family).
The Snowmass store’s remodel went over so well that Clark’s Market’s ownership endeavored to give the same look and feel to its Telluride store, which required a change of course during a remodel there. And, with the Snowmass store as a blueprint, plus a few other things learned along the way, the flagship Aspen Clark’s Market is slated for a major remodel in spring 2016.
“The store has been a huge hit, and it surprised a lot of people on how a grocery store can look and feel—even a smaller one in Snowmass can have everything they need,” says Clark.
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16 Kearns Road, Snowmass Village