Monday, June 18, 2018
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
Private Florida firm buys Rent-A-Center in $1 billion deal

Private Florida firm buys Rent-A-Center in $1 billion deal

An Orlando private equity firm has purchased lease-to-own business Rent-A-Center in a deal valued at more than $1 billion.Vintage Capital Management put a bid in for the company on Friday: $15 per share, $1 per share above its previous offer. Rent-A-...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Report: 40 percent of Florida property will be ‘highly exposed’ to flooding

Report: 40 percent of Florida property will be ‘highly exposed’ to flooding

One of Florida’s biggest draws is also one if its biggest liabilities — its coastline. A new report projects that Florida is at the greatest risk of any state for tidal flooding caused by rising sea levels. And Tampa Bay faces some of the greatest ri...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Mazzaro’s gets ready to reopen

Mazzaro’s gets ready to reopen

day after an electrical fire broke out in its dry goods warehouse Friday night.Dominic Horwath, a grocery manager at Mazzaro’s on 22nd Ave. N, said staffers spent Monday and the weekend moving things into other warehouses.The damage from the fire at ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Mazzaro’s market set to reopen Tuesday after blaze damaged one of its warehouses

Mazzaro’s market set to reopen Tuesday after blaze damaged one of its warehouses

ST. PETERSBURG — Mazzaro’s Italian Market is scheduled to reopen Tuesday after an electrical fire broke out its dry goods warehouse Friday night.Dominic Horwath, a grocery manager at Mazzaro’s on 22nd Avenue N said staff spent Monday and the weekend...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Developer Grady Pridgen buys St. Pete’s shuttered Edward White Hospital

Developer Grady Pridgen buys St. Pete’s shuttered Edward White Hospital

ST. PETERSBURG — Edward White Hospital, closed four years ago because of declining revenues, has been sold to developer Grady Pridgen for $2.7 million.Pridgen could not be reached Monday for comment. City officials said he has submitted plans for rem...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Hernando Business Digest for June 22

Business digestBrieflyHOSPITAL RECEIVES AWARD: Oak Hill Hospital in Spring Hill was the recipient of Healthgrades 2018 Patient Safety Excellence Award, a designation that recognizes superior performance of hospitals that have prevented the occurrence...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Pasco Business Digest for June 22

Pasco Business Digest for June 22

Business digestBrieflyHOSPITALS RECEIVE AWARD: Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point and Medical Center of Trinity were recipients of Healthgrades 2018 Patient Safety Excellence Award, a designation that recognizes superior performance of hospitals t...
Published: 06/18/18
Tampa Bay gas prices keep falling

Tampa Bay gas prices keep falling

The summer reprieve in gas prices is continuing.After flirting near the $3 mark, Tampa Bay gas prices fell another six cents a gallon over the past week to an average of $2.65 for unleaded, a wide gap with the national average of $2.91 a gallon, acco...
Published: 06/18/18
Your barista is a robot. Should it be friendly?

Your barista is a robot. Should it be friendly?

SAN FRANCISCO - The cold, steely arm of Fernando the Barista swirled the foam of my matcha latte, set it down gently, and waved goodbye from inside a glass case. San Francisco, 2018. Where you can get robot pizza and robot salad, and now, a robot mat...
Published: 06/16/18
Riverview’s commercial real estate prices rise as community booms

Riverview’s commercial real estate prices rise as community booms

RIVERVIEW — The basic economic principle of supply and demand defines Riverview’s current struggle with commercial real estate.With a lack of available affordable commercial properties and a booming population, demand currently exceeds supply in Rive...
Published: 06/15/18
Updated: 06/18/18