Dalton King began working at Lucky’s Market in August — a job he came to love. About four months later, the store celebrated its one-year anniversary.
“Every day I work is the best day,” King, 21, said. “I usually work in the bulk department, but lately they’ve been moving me around to other sections, which is really cool.”
Between training among the different departments, King said his job is rarely boring.
“I’m always learning something new,” he said.
Store director Robert Knaus said Lucky’s Market opened its doors in Gainesville on Jan. 6, 2015, at 1459 NW 23rd Ave. He transferred from a Louisville, Kentucky, location in April.
This weekend, he was glad to be enjoying the celebration in Gainesville.
“Lucky’s is trying to expand all across the nation to afford great food and great prices to patrons. It’s the amusement park of grocery stores,” Knaus said.
From the minute shoppers opened their car doors, the smell of $1 burgers and bratwursts drifted from a grill outside the store’s entrance.
More than 13 local vendors and several carnival games sat lined against the store’s windows. Kids and adults tossed plastic rings onto bottles of San Pellegrino in hopes of winning assorted fruits.
Once inside, live music greeted shoppers’ ears. As customers ordered beers nearby, a woman sang to the tune of an acoustic guitar.
Knaus, a Lucky’s employee for two years, said the first store opened in Boulder, Colorado, in 2003.
Twelve new stores will open across the country this year, he said, including a Naples, Florida, location set to open Wednesday.
While Knaus is excited for the chain’s national success, he stays focused on improving the Gainesville location. This year, he plans to attract more local vendors.
“We have a great amount, but I want to be better at it,” he said.
Lucy Collins, 29, was born and raised in Gainesville. She started shopping at Lucky’s just months after its grand opening.
“I love their sales. I come here especially for that,” Collins said. “I also appreciate what they do with the organic food and, of course, the beer while you shop. That’s pretty awesome. It makes it more fun.”
One of King’s favorite things about his job is working closely with shoppers like Collins.
“It’s what we’re doing here that other stores aren’t. All the organic things, but also helping the community,” he said. “I think other grocery stores are starting to catch on, but other than a few off the top of my head, we’re up there.”
“We’re one of the only few because we center around the important stuff,” King said.
As King packaged orders behind the meat counter, he soaked in the surrounding festivities.
“It’s awesome that we’re doing so great as a store. Today is just a great day with a lot of cool stuff that people are enjoying,” King said. “Everybody is just happy to be here.”