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Jeannie Lira picks jalapeño peppers Aug. 4, 2023, at a King Soopers in Denver. Lira and her family, who live in Colorado Springs, would shop at the now-closed King Soopers on South Academy Boulevard about three times a week. The store is expected to reopen this fall, but in the meantime, has led to what residents say is a deeper food desert for people with disabilities, older adults, and those on fixed or low-incomes. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun via Report for America)

A King Soopers in Colorado Springs that closed suddenly when asbestos was discovered during remodeling will reopen Wednesday morning with a celebration of the newly renovated store.

The King Soopers on South Academy Boulevard, located between the Pikes Peak Park and Deerfield Hills neighborhoods, closed June 20 without notice after asbestos was detected in the glue used to hold down floor tiles that had been removed.

Now, more than four months after the closure, the public is invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8 a.m. Wednesday. 


King Soopers leaders plan to give a $10,000 check to Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado to help fight hunger locally. The grocery store officials said they also will give $2,500 gift card donations to Pikes Peak United Way, Solid Rock Community Development Corporation and Food to Power to recognize the organizations’ efforts of supporting the community during the grocery store’s closure.

“We are thrilled to hear that our local store is reopening,” said Patience Kabwasa, executive director of Food to Power, which works to cultivate a healthy, equitable food system in Colorado Springs. “It is a long-treasured asset to the southeast Colorado Springs community, and we celebrate more fresh food options for residents.”

After the store shut down this summer, Colorado Springs residents and local food justice organizations worried about where people in the neighborhood who have disabilities, older adults, those with fixed or low incomes and people relying on public transportation would shop for food. 

Southeast Colorado Springs, they said, is filled with fast-food outlets and has had little investment over the years by grocery retailers. In some low-income neighborhoods, people found themselves more than a half-mile from the nearest supermarket. Residents said they had to travel farther to find healthy food options, which was more expensive and challenging in a city with few public transportation options.

Jeannie Lira shops for groceries Aug. 4, 2023, at a King Soopers in Denver. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun via Report for America)

While the reopening is good news for the community, Food to Power spokeswoman Jessi Bustamante said there still is work to be done in southeast Colorado Springs.

“When the key point is that there aren’t enough ways to access food, there are certainly no complaints about regaining an access point,” she said Tuesday. “There weren’t enough ways to access food before the asbestos closure and there’s still more work to do even with the store reopening.”

Tatiana Flowers is the equity and general assignment reporter for the Colorado Sun and her work is funded by a grant from the Colorado Trust. She has covered crime and courts plus education and health in Colorado, Connecticut, Israel and Morocco....