King Soopers intends to reopen its Table Mesa store, where a gunman killed 10 people March 22, by late fall.
The company is working to expedite renovations of the interior and exterior of the store, King Soopers spokesperson Jessica Trowbridge said during a news conference on Wednesday.
“The redesign will be thoughtful and will include input from both our associates and the community,” she said.
“We know that the building is just part of what makes this store so special and that restoring it is just another step in the journey … as we continue to rebuild and heal,” she later added.
Mayor Sam Weaver echoed those sentiments.
“This announcement offers a critical next phase in our healing process,” Weaver said. “Re-establishing this store, which provides sustenance, services and a hub for our community, will be a great blessing to Boulder.”
King Soopers has committed to offering emergency paid leave for its employees until June 19, though Trowbridge did not elaborate on how much compensation each employee is receiving nor did she share what might happen after that date. When asked whether employees have been transferred to other stores, Trowbridge declined to answer.
She did note that the company donated $1 million to the Colorado Healing Fund to support the victims, families, survivors and the community affected by the shooting. It also donated the food from its south Boulder store to Community Food Share. Further, King Soopers partnered with the city to open the Boulder Strong Resource Center, at 603 S. Broadway. The center is open to all and offers counseling, massage and acupuncture, comfort dogs and more.
Deputy City Manager Chris Meschuk, who was serving in the interim city manager role at the time of the shooting, said the city will try to collaborate with King Soopers to ensure the permitting and planning processes for a rebuild happen efficiently.
In the days after March 22, a makeshift memorial began forming on the temporary fence outside of the Table Mesa store. Adorned with flowers, cards, ribbons and posters, the memorial has continued to serve as a place for community members to gather in the aftermath of the shooting.
The memorial will be removed after Memorial Day, officials announced on Wednesday. All items will be cleaned and stored at the Museum of Boulder. The city is working with families of those lost to determine what might become of the memorabilia. It’s also planning to establish a permanent memorial, though Meschuk acknowledged that it could take several years.
“There are no specifics to consider yet — what a memorial might look like, how much it would cost or even if it would be located near the site or elsewhere in Boulder,” Meschuk said.
Trowbridge recognized that it’s hard to believe it’s been 52 days since “the unimaginable happened at our store” but that she’s hopeful for the future.
“We are resilient. We are in this together. And we are Boulder Strong,” she said.
Killed in the shooting were Boulder police Officer Eric Talley, 51, as well as Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49;Teri Leiker, 51;Suzanne Fountain, 59; Kevin Mahoney, 61;Lynn Murray, 62; and Jody Waters, 65.
As Wednesday’s news conference came to a close, Meschuk read a poem called “The Public Square is a Grocery Store,” written by Assistant City Manager Pam Davis, who wrote it as a means of processing what happened.
“The thing about public squares, though, the thing about grocery stores is that even when they are broken, even when they are not open, they still belong to everyone,” Meschuk read.
Moving forward, King Soopers is taking input on the redesign of its store. To provide feedback, email email@example.com.