Boulder King Soopers To Undergo Full Renovation After Shooting, Reopen Late Fall
The Table Mesa King Soopers in Boulder where a gunman killed 10 people on March 22 will reopen by late fall, parent company Kroger announced during a press conference on Wednesday.
“We know that the building is just part of what makes this store so special,” said Jessica Trowbridge, a corporate affairs manager for King Soopers. "Restoring it is just another step in the journey as we continue to heal.”
The building will undergo a complete interior and exterior renovation before opening, Trowbridge said. She offered no specifics for the plan, but pledged the company will listen to community members’ input for the redesign. People can email firstname.lastname@example.org to share their thoughts on the project.
The store was full of “love and community,” lifelong South Boulder resident Paige McSavaney, 18, told KUNC in early April. She hoped the store could reopen so that sense of connection could return to the Table Mesa plaza, even if it would be different. The store would need to be remodeled for her to feel more comfortable with re-entering it, she said.
“There's a lot of questions that I've run through my head, which aisle did he walk down first?” McSavaney said. “I think they should visually change the entire store for sure, because it was an entire crime scene and it's going to be a really triggering place for a lot of emotions for people across the community and probably across the state as well.”
The tragedy was followed by an outpouring of grief from the community as the fence blocking the front end of the store’s parking lot overflowed with flowers, signs and other tributes to the lives lost. The 10 victims are:
- Denny Stong, 20
- Neven Stanisic, 23
- Rikki Olds, 25
- Tralona Bartkowiak, 49
- Teri Leiker, 51
- Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley, 51
- Suzanne Fountain, 59
- Kevin Mahoney, 61
- Lynn Murray, 62
- Jodi Waters, 65
The fence will be removed from the parking lot as the store reopens. After Memorial Day, the Boulder Museum is planning to remove and preserve the objects placed on and around the fence. A permanent memorial is envisioned for the future, but that will likely take several years to develop.
During Wednesday’s press conference, Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver said the store’s reopening is “extremely welcome and very uplifting.”
“The revitalization sends a clear message,” Weaver said. “We will not be bowed by our recent tragedy. Hope and solidarity can overcome hatred.”
Residents also rallied to provide mental health and other support services to those affected by the shooting, including the creation of a long-term Boulder Strong Resource Center. The “multi-agency resource hub” is run by Mental Health Partners of Boulder, with funding support from Kroger. The center offers free therapy, mental health training and other crisis support.
The company has pledged to provide emergency paid leave to the Table Mesa store’s employees through June.
Kroger considered tearing down the store and rebuilding from the ground up, but ultimately decided against the decision, Trowbridge said.
The shooting inspired new statewide gun legislation. State lawmakers have given initial approval to three gun safety bills that supporters say will prevent deaths. One measure — that would allow cities and colleges to pass tougher gun laws — was the latest to advance this week.
Lawmakers are also advancing bills to create an office focused on preventing gun violence and to block gun sales to people who commit violent misdemeanors.
The alleged gunman in the Boulder shooting is due for another court appearance on May 25 for a “status conference.” The conference is typically an opportunity for the presiding judge to consider the time frame for all pre-trial activities, according to the American Bar Association.
KUNC’s Scott Franz contributed to this report.