Monday, December 11, 2017
Business

Two Publix stores win loyal customers on both sides of Fourth Street

ST. PETERSBURG — Five years ago when Publix bought 49 Albertsons stores across the state, local shoppers quickly questioned what would happen to the seemingly redundant situation at 38th Avenue N and Fourth Street.

On the west side sat an Albertsons and on the east, a Publix. Would the Lakeland grocery company close one or convert it to its "healthier" Greenwise concept? Neither.

After a facelift, the Albertsons reopened as a Publix, or "Publixons" as many shoppers nicknamed it. Despite continued rumors along the way of closings or new concepts, five years later both stores continue to operate just a few hundred yards from each other.

"We are happy with the performance of both of those stores and we are fortunate they're doing so well in such close proximity," said Publix spokesman Brian West.

There are no plans to alter what seems to be the redundant locations, he said. There are enough shoppers in the area to support both stores.

"It's very common to have stores in very close proximity," West added. "I know we have stores that are just a few blocks from other in Miami."

But these are the only two that are more or less across the street from each other in the five states where Publix operates.

The stores are so close, in fact, that if a shopper finds one is out of a certain product a Publix employee will go to the other store and fetch it. Those are the only two stores with such an agreement, West stressed.

Shoppers interviewed by the Tampa Bay Times recently at the two stores were not aware of the convenient customer service, but each had a reason for shopping on the east or west side of the street.

Amy Willoughby has been shopping at the original Publix for a decade. She tried the converted Albertsons a few times but came back to her grocery roots.

"I didn't feel that familiarity at (the converted Publix). I can find things easier here," she said while pushing her 7-year-old daughter, Reese, into the original store at 200 37th Ave. N.

"I just never bothered to change," said customer Sal Schantz, as she exited the original Publix. "I know some people like it over there but it doesn't make much sense to me."

Brooke Mitchell came to the area four years ago and sampled both Publix stores. She opted for the one on the west side at 3700 Fourth St. N.

"This parking lot is so much better than the other one. With all the other shops in the shopping center it's harder to find a place to park over there," she explained.

Barbara Merrill shopped at the first Publix from 1999 until the new one opened. The parking lured her to break tradition and head west.

"The store is less crowded, too. It took a little while to get used to it but now I like it a lot. I can run in and out faster," she said.

Richard Storer has bought his groceries on the west side of Fourth Street since it was Skaggs Albertsons 40 years ago, he said with a smile. He prefers it now because of the wider aisles. His daughter has limited mobility and can get around on her crutches much easier in the bigger store that was Albertsons.

"It's convenient for us and gives her a chance to walk," he said, adding: "We've always shopped here."

Katherine Snow Smith can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8785.

Comments
HSBC says U.S. will dismiss criminal charges against it

HSBC says U.S. will dismiss criminal charges against it

HSBC said Monday that U.S. authorities were preparing to dismiss criminal charges against the bank, five years after it reached an agreement to avoid prosecution related to lapses in its money-laundering controls.In 2012, the bank, one of the world’s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Major auto manufacturer offers longer hours, incentives to fix airbags

Major auto manufacturer offers longer hours, incentives to fix airbags

TAMPA — With nearly 200,000 people around Tampa Bay still driving around with defective airbags that could kill them, a major automaker is trying to dramatically cut that number down this week.Fiat Chrystler Automobiles U.S. has launched Airbag Recal...
Updated: 1 hour ago
This 6-year-old kid made $11 million in one year reviewing toys on You Tube

This 6-year-old kid made $11 million in one year reviewing toys on You Tube

When most people think back on the child celebrities of their time, they likely think of child movie actors, the well-trained stars of showbiz. For some, these were stars like Mary Kate and Ashley Olson, or Macaulay Carson Culkin from "Home Alone." F...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Ticket-fighting firm hires former Florida Bar president to sue the Bar

Ticket-fighting firm hires former Florida Bar president to sue the Bar

Times Staff WriterWell, this is awkward. A company that is suing the Florida Bar has hired a former Bar president to represent it. Ramon Abadin has joined the legal team of TIKD, a company that expedites the process of fighting traffic tickets in Pin...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Tampa: Hundreds protest Trump’s decision on Jerusalem

Tampa: Hundreds protest Trump’s decision on Jerusalem

TAMPA — Hundreds rallied near the University of South Florida on Friday night to protest President Donald Trump’s recent declaration that the United States will recognize the divided city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.The protest was organize...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/09/17

Duke outage leaves 7,700 without power near Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — Up to 7,700 customers across Pinellas Park, Lealman and Kenneth City lost power in a Thursday night outage, according to Duke Energy.The outage impacted a cloverleaf-shaped area of customers, with pedals extending in the cardinal dire...
Published: 12/08/17
Express lanes set to open on Veterans. They’re free -- for now.

Express lanes set to open on Veterans. They’re free -- for now.

TAMPA — Drivers on the Veterans Expressway will gain an extra lane from Gunn Highway to Hillsborough Avenue starting Saturday.But there’s a catch: Once drivers enter the lane, they won’t be able to leave it — not until a designated exit about six mil...
Published: 12/08/17
St. Petersburg chamber of commerce charts ‘Grow Smarter’ economic development strategy

St. Petersburg chamber of commerce charts ‘Grow Smarter’ economic development strategy

Times Staff WriterST. PETERSBURG — What started more than five years ago as an exploratory conversation among a handful of business leaders blossomed Friday into a full-blown community discussion of how to nurture business while working to make sure ...
Published: 12/08/17
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater makes Orlando tourists a top target

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater makes Orlando tourists a top target

In a decision driven by some major data crunching, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater next year will focus its tourism advertising on three target markets: Orlando, New York City and its Tampa Bay home."Research is going to dictate our behaviors and direction...
Published: 12/08/17
Having JW Marriott run Water Street Tampa’s new 519-room hotel expected to help Tampa pursue more upscale conventions

Having JW Marriott run Water Street Tampa’s new 519-room hotel expected to help Tampa pursue more upscale conventions

TAMPA — JW Marriott, a luxury hotel brand new to Tampa, will run the new 519-room hotel that the Water Street Tampa project is building next to the Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, developers announced Friday.Construction on the 26-story hotel is ...
Published: 12/08/17