SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – There is a new name on the sign outside. But, what you find on the shelves inside naturally looks a little familiar. Natural Grocers, a retailer new to the Springfield market, has opened its doors on the city’s south side.

Brian Phillips, Director of Store Operations explained,  “That’s what we have in Springfield…we have a lot of folks here that have been shopping natural and organic foods whether it be farmers markets  or their own gardens or other stores for decades.  So, that is one of the reasons we are here is because people wanted us to be here.  

Richard Tiegs, a customer, said, “We were thrilled.  We were counting down the months and then the days.”

The spot at 3333 S. Glenstone had been home to another natural food chain, Lucky’s Market. That Colorado-based company closed most of its locations in 2020 after its main investor, Kroger, pulled out of the partnership.  

Tiegs said, “We were sad that they closed shop because they had all that here. Nobody else had what they had in the terms of quality of meat or the produce.”

Up the street, one of the city’s biggest empty storefronts isn’t staying that way for long.

The property at 3101 S. Glenstone had been the city’s sole remaining K-mart store until it closed in 2017. Construction workers are remodeling the structure for new Hobby Lobby and Mardel stores. This project is a gain for Glenstone Avenue, but a loss for Battlefield Road. 

That’s because the current stores, located on Battlefield, will close after the new ones open. This will leave yet another vacancy and empty space in town- and one located right in front of the closed Sears store at the Battlefield Mall.

As for those storefronts lucky enough to get new tenants, management of those places are ready for business in these changing times. 

“It is a busy spot. Whenever we were building the store here, we had all kinds of foot traffic and people coming up and checking us out and going to some of the other stores in the area as well.  Anytime you get a lot of cars and people in the area, you are going to have people that need to do some grocery shopping. That’s where we come in,” said Phillips.

There was yet another sign this week on Battlefield Road of a rebounding economy. Advance Auto parts, a competitor of O’Reilly Auto Parts and AutoZone, opened in the retail space formerly occupied by the Pep Boys retail store.