VALRICO — The new Publix going up at Valrico Square on State Road 60 won't just be a replacement for the old Winn-Dixie, it will be the chain's largest store in east Hillsborough.
More than a year after announcing it would move its current Valrico location across the street to 1971 State Road 60, Publix finally began work on the project last month — recently demolishing the old Winn-Dixie.
The store not only will be larger, but it also will feature a number of improvements not found in your typical Publix, including a larger seafood department with a lobster tank.
There also will be an expanded selection of sushi, more ethnic and specialty items, and more fine wines, with a wine specialist on hand to answer questions and offer guidance.
In addition, Publix expects to feature a wider variety of prepared foods with an emphasis on pan-Asian items, and a greater selection of organic and "Earth-friendly" foods throughout the store.
Even the design and the decor will be significantly improved, according to Publix spokeswoman Shannon Patten. By building the store from the ground up, Publix has greater control over the layout and aesthetics than in some other locations, where the store goes into an existing building.
The move also will give customers easier traffic patterns to get into and out of the new store, Patten said. Expected to open in September, Publix doesn't plan on any problems in moving across the street.
"(The old) store will close at 7 p.m. the evening before, and the new store will open the next morning," Patten said. "So our customers will experience very little interruption."
New pharmacy opens
Starting a new retail business is always tough, especially when the economy is slow. An independent pharmacy is probably a little tougher than some other types of businesses.
So Anthony Onyedimma is willing to go the extra mile to draw customers to City Care Pharmacy, which opened about three months ago at 1076 E Brandon Blvd., in East Point Plaza.
For no extra charge, Onyedimma will personally pick up prescriptions from customers anywhere within about a 30-mile radius of his store, bring them back to his store for processing and deliver the medications. On a recent evening, City Care Pharmacy closed at 6 p.m., and Onyedimma got in his car to serve customers in Tampa and Town 'N Country.
It's an example of the kind of individual service that sets City Care apart from the big chain pharmacies, Onyedimma said.
"I give a much closer personal touch, much more personal attention to my clients," he said.
He's also able to offer lower prices on prescription medications and over-the-counter medicines, Onyedimma said.
Even so, it's difficult to attract customers to a new pharmacy.
"It's hard to get people to leave the place they have been going," he said. "But our second month was better than our first, and our third was better than our second, so we are improving."
Before he opened City Care, Onyedimma had been working as a pharmacist in the Tampa Bay area for seven years, most recently for CVS.
City Care Pharmacy is open form 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Onyedimma said he may extend hours or start opening on weekends if there's a demand for it. For more information, call (813) 402-0444.
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