The Leadville Marketplace: Saturday’s Discount
When it comes to shopping for food in Lake County, the landscape is changing – again. As residents and visitors become increasingly frustrated with ongoing public health concerns at Leadville’s primary grocery store, the smaller retail outlets have been actively responding to consumer demands, expanding their offerings. In this new series, The Leadville Marketplace, readers will be brought up-to-date on what’s in the kitchen cupboard in Leadville Today. Remember, as a consumer, where you spend your hard-earned dollars can often be your best tool in affecting change and accountability in your community, particularly when it comes to food safety.
Saturday’s Discount: Yesterday and Today
By Kathy Bedell, © Leadville Today
From the outside, it’s hard to miss the nearly 8,000 square foot retail anchor on the south end of town. But if you haven’t stepped inside Saturday’s Discount in a while you might be very, pleasantly surprised. After more than two years at the helm, owners Jim & Meredith Spesock have demonstrated the hard work and dedication it takes to run Leadville’s second-in-command when it comes to retail business.
But first, here’s some history. Who can forget when Saturday’s Discount founder Frank Nickel first starting talking about, and then constructing, “that giant building” south of town. It was July 2001 and few had his vision when it came to growing Leadville’s economy. As a keen businessman, Nickel knew that by building Saturday’s at that location he would capture the passing traveler, looking to stock up on gas and snacks for their road trip. However, it was his commitment to the nearby Lake Fork Trailer Park community that laid the groundwork for the well-worn foot-path that quickly formed between retailer and loyal customer.
Each year, things grew – a little bit here, a little bit there, with the retailer responding to customer suggestions, as well as keeping things current and modern. After 13 years in business, Frank had built a sustainable, successful store, but at this stage in his life, he was also looking to sell, in order to spend more time with family. While Nickel’s first attempt at retirement resulted in a “boomerang” sale in 2014, the present-day owners – since April 1, 2016 – seem to be the right fit, as the retail anchor heads into another record-breaking year.
“We’ve run out of floor space,” explained owner Meredith Spesock during a recent tour of the business. “So now we’re going up,” she added pointing to the towering display of souvenir t-shirts. And so, it seems, are store’s sales, with a growing percent of that being grocery items.
“We have an entire freezer dedicated to Scanga products,” Spesock said, referring to the popular meat products that come from a family ranch located south of Leadville. Shoppers can also find a decent selection of dairy products from milk, to cheese and eggs. And while it may not be a full produce department, Saturday’s does keep bananas, potatoes, onions, tomatoes and more in stock. In fact, families can find many of the items they need to get by, in between their regular grocery shopping trips.
And even though the Spesocks still consider Saturday’s to be a “convenience” store, their list of offerings is growing and changing all the time, from gas and propane, to liquor and grocery, to auto and hardware, there’s not much you won’t find, just ask!
However, what may come as a surprise to many shoppers can be found a bit further back in the big, boxy building. Saturday’s has expanded their sporting goods selection to now include the sale of firearms and ammunition. They carry a good selection of handguns and rifles, along with the accessories.
“We received our Federal Firearm License in early spring,” stated Jess Ruble who manages the back counter in a friendly, knowledgeable manner, but with a full understanding and respect for the regulatory guidelines and agencies that manage firearm sales.
And while the guns are a welcome, unmet addition for local sportsmen, any guess as to what is their number one seller? Gold pans! During the summer months they can hardly keep them on the shelves, as that yellow fever strikes just about every tourist once they’ve heard the rags-to-riches stories.
But the true “Eureka!” might just be heard from Saturday’s remodeled liquor department, offering beer, wine and spirits. The Spesocks have responded to customer’s changing tastes and now sell a variety of microbrews, along with a special section highlighting just Colorado products. Good selection, great prices.
Still, with all the upgrades, it’s nice to know that some things don’t change. The giant, mural tribute to fall Leadville Marine Nick Palmer is still on full display at the retailer.
“A lot of people stop and take pictures with it,” stated Meredith, which prompted them to move the sizeable art piece down to the floor so that folks could see it up close. It’s nice to know that some folks #neverforget, not only those who have served their country, but also those that they continue to serve, day in day out in Leadville Today.
That’s going to do it for this first piece in The Leadville Marketplace series. Be sure to stop into Saturday’s Discount, check out all the new upgrades and changes, and then let LT know about your experience. Remember, as a consumer you do have options in Lake County.
Saturday’s Discount is located south of Leadville at 12655 US Highway 24, across from the Little Red School. Saturday’s is open seven days a week. 719-486-5700.