Sweetbay closing seven stores, opening three
Tampa-based Sweetbay Supermarket will close seven underperforming grocery stores, including three in Hillsborough County, said the company's Belgian parent, Delhaize Group. The remaining four stores targeted for closing are in Fort Myers, Sarasota and Charlotte County.
Sweetbay spokeswoman Nicole LeBeau said it is common for Sweetbay to analyze its weaker performing stores. Many of the seven to be closed face lease renewals and Sweetbay did not want to be locked into these locations for the long term, she said. The three Hillsborough stores are located at 1247 Kingsway Road in Brandon, 1101 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico, and 789 Cortaro Drive in Wimauma near Sun City.
At the same time, LeBeau said Sweetbay will open three new area stores in 2009. One is in Hillsborough on Bruce B Downs, another is in Tarpon Springs and the third is in Clermont, a western suburb of Orlando. Sweetbay employs about 8,500, and currently operates 108 stores, including 47 in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, with another six in Pasco.
(Photo of Sweetbay store in Planty City by Skip O'Rourke of the St. Petersburg Times)
--Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist