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Tampa neighbor of Trader Joe's creates his own parking lot

TAMPA — When Trader Joe's opens Friday, Rod Dewell won't be in line.

That doesn't mean he isn't excited. He just plans on celebrating from home.

The 56-year-old lives near S Dale Mabry on W Swann Avenue, directly across from Tampa Bay's first Trader Joe's.

While for some the proximity to one of the area's most anticipated grocery stores might cause anxiety, Dewell plans to use it to his advantage.

"I can't wait to set up some paid parking spots in my front yard," he said.

The store at 3808 W Swann Ave., part of the California-based retailer with a cult-like following, has parking for 70 vehicles.

Dewell doesn't think that will be enough, especially during the excitement of the store's early days.

"They have 70 spots and 200 carts," he said. "That's going to be interesting."

The parking lot has already been full for weeks, he said, with just employees' cars.

Dewell thinks he can fit about 10 cars in his small front yard and charge $5 per vehicle, with the potential for turnover every hour. He'll have signs and plans to keep his driveway clear for his own use.

"Traffic is going to be a nightmare," he said.

Other businesses in the area already have limited parking.

Einstein Bagels and Burger King on busy S Dale Mabry have signs in their parking lots indicating spaces are for customers only.

At Star Gate Academy, a child care spot across from Trader Joe's, an employee said she is a little worried about cars overflowing into that parking lot, but confessed that having a new source for lunch overshadows concerns.

"We can't wait for it to open," Rachel Smith said.

To coincide with the grand opening, Dewell is throwing a party of his own to celebrate his new neighbor.

"I'm having my friends over and we are going to set up a few tables in the front yard and have food and drinks," Dewell said.

"A Trader Joe's party. Why not?"

Requirement for entrance: any item from Trader Joe's.

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at or (813) 226-3401.

Tampa neighbor of Trader Joe's creates his own parking lot 03/19/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 12:03pm]
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