Big aisles, big smiles at Rifle’s new City Market |

Big aisles, big smiles at Rifle’s new City Market

Lynn Burton
Post Independent Staff

Rifle’s new City Market features a drive-up pharmacy, expanded produce and cosmetics sections, gourmet deli meals and more, but roomy aisles drew the applause at Wednesday’s grand opening ceremony.

Store manager Keith Cloninger mentioned the aisles Wednesday and started to tell the crowd about them, but didn’t get farther than, “You can actually … ,” when claps of approval broke out, and pre-empted that part of his speech.

“The store is really nice,” said Battlement Mesa resident Dani Craig as she unloaded a cart full of groceries into her mini-van moments before the 9 a.m. ribbon cutting. “It’s not all squished up like before.”

The new City Market, located near the Garfield County Fairgrounds at 1320 Railroad, covers 50,000 square feet, compared to the old store’s 36,000 square feet.

A good portion of the new square footage is devoted to a Customer Service Center, just inside the entrance to the left, that includes a UPS shipping counter, Western Union, ATM machine and tobacco sales. The center flows into the Print Shop and Entertainment Center.

Beyond are the rest rooms, which include two sinks, a full-length mirror and diaper disposal station on the men’s side.

The produce section is to the right as shoppers enter the store. The self-scan express lines are dead center in front of the entrance and exit, both of which are on the store’s south side.

Wednesday’s grand opening brought out City Market executives, community members, the chamber of commerce ambassadors in their maroon blazers, employees’ friends and the media.

Meadow Gold milk displayed its mint condition 1924 Ford pickup, with five-gallon milk cans in back, and gave away half-pints of chocolate milk.

Inside the store, Owens sausage and other vendors gave away samples. City Market baked a five-foot long cake, decorated with a skier, deer hunter, four deer, a dog, and an SUV with motor boat, a river and mountains for the occasion.

Cloninger started his brief remarks by telling the crowd that Rifle’s first City Market was built 50 years ago, and was located on 4th Street.

“There were two check-out stands, and the store was open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and it closed at 6 p.m. on Sunday,” Cloninger said. He said the store has become a place where Rifle area residents not only shop, but visit with each other as well. “We plan to be a community center for the next 50 years,” he said.

Shoppers pushed their carts in and out of the store while Cloninger took a yard-long pair of scissors from chamber of commerce members, then cut a red ribbon that was strung across the entrance.

On that note, the celebration continued inside, where Cloninger cut the cake and handed out free slices. Wilma Phillips was first in line, and after her first bite she said the cake was “heavenly.”

Phillips, who attended the opening with her husband, Francis, said she remembers when that first City Market store opened 50 years ago. She likes the new version.

“It’s roomy,” Phillips said. “It’s loaded, and they’ve got anything you need in there. It’s neat.”

By 10 a.m., nine of the store’s 11 check-out stands were open for business, and busy. Paula Suarez was pushing a cart as she and her two children, 1-year-old Eliana and 3-year-old Gabriel, checked out Snack Station for preschool snacks.

Suarez said the new store is “much better” than the old one, and she likes the variety. Gabriel liked the slick floor, Suarez said. “He’s been sliding around on it.”

Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534

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