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Spanish-American grocery to open in old hardware store

RIVERVIEW — Customers once bought hammers and nails in this metal-walled building on a prime spot along U.S. 301.

In a few months, the store's new owners will start selling roasted pork and plantains.

Jorge L. Gonzalez, 51, of Valrico, said he plans to open a Spanish-American grocery store in the 4,800-square-foot space once occupied by Otto's Hardware.

Plans and permits for the store, at 9613 U.S. 301 S, are still in the works. Gonzalez said he hasn't come up with a name yet.

The store will likely open in August, he said, and feature foods from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. In addition to vegetables and produce, the deli will offer an extensive meat selection, he said.

The retail world is familiar to Gonzalez, whose father owned a small grocery store in Puerto Rico when he was growing up.

Gonzalez ran a store of his own in Valrico, Latino Supermarket, but he sold it three years ago.

Many people would drive to that store from Riverview, he said, and complain about the lack of local offerings.

Opening a store on busy U.S. 301 will be good for business, he said.

"When people go by, they're going to see it," he said.

Years ago, a Latin grocery store never would have considered coming to Riverview, said Jimmy Millard, whose family has owned the U.S. 301 building for decades.

"Now we have a lot of Latin American people here, and it will do very well," he said.

Catherine E. Shoichet can be reached at cshoichet@sptimes.com or 661-2454.

Spanish-American grocery to open in old hardware store 05/15/08 [Last modified: Monday, May 19, 2008 10:31am]
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