TAMPA — Trader Joe's has finally announced plans to open a store in South Tampa, putting to rest the area's worst kept secret.
The grocery chain said it has signed a lease to open stores in Tampa as well as Wellington and Orlando in 2014. The Tampa store will be located at 3808 W Swann Ave., home of Shapes gym for women, which closed in July.
The announcement comes a few months after paperwork filed with the city of Tampa pointed to the Swann address as the site for the area's first Trader Joe's. Prior to now, the company has stayed silent on the address, despite widespread media reports that a location had been secured.
Project developers are scheduled to go before the city's variance review board today to seek permission to increase the size of signs allowed on the site off Dale Mabry Highway. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 315 E Kennedy Blvd.
The California-based food retailer draws a cultlike following with its distinctive products, affordable prices and private label brands. In July, it was named North America's favorite grocery-store chain based on customer satisfaction, according to a survey by Market Force, a customer intelligence firm.
The Orlando store will be located in the Dr. Phillips Shopping Center. The Wellington store will be in the Village Green Center.
Trader Joe's is continuing to expand quickly in Florida. The company also recently signed leases for stores in Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Palm Beach Gardens and Winter Park.
Susan Thurston can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 225-3110.