Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Business

Whole Foods to open in Clearwater, while a Publix store will close

CLEARWATER — You could call it the Supermarket Shuffle — one leaves, another arrives.

On one hand, a longtime Publix at Sunset Point Plaza is about to close because it's competing with another Publix just a half-mile to the west — a store that the chain bought from Albertsons a few years ago.

On the other hand, a major new player, Whole Foods Market, is planning to open its first location in the Clearwater area — possibly at Westfield Countryside Mall.

Whole Foods Market

This growing chain of large health-food grocery stores is making inroads into Tampa Bay. It opened its first bay-area store five years ago at Interstate 275 and Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa. It just opened its second local store in Carrollwood in Hillsborough County, and it's looking at downtown St. Petersburg.

This week, the chain announced that it's coming to Clearwater, but it provided no further details.

However, Whole Foods representatives are scheduled to talk with Clearwater planning officials later this month about a proposal to take over the lower level of the Sears department store at Westfield Countryside Mall.

"They would take up part of the existing Sears space at Westfield. Sears would continue to be there, occupying less space," said Assistant City Manager Rod Irwin. The addition of a high-end grocery store would dovetail with the mall's strategy of becoming a regional shopping destination, he said.

Representatives of Sears and the mall couldn't be reached for comment Friday.

With more than 330 locations and an eco-friendly approach, Whole Foods is known for its vast salad bar, hot food bar and soup selection along with products such as organic milk, grass-fed beef and whole grain.

In Clearwater, its closest direct competitors would probably be a Fresh Market on U.S. 19 just south of Countryside Mall, and Nature's Food Patch, an organic grocery store downtown.

While traditional grocers compete on price and service, Whole Foods caters to shoppers more concerned with healthy eating, wise environmental practices and selection. Supermarket consultants say the chain looks to locate in communities with residents earning six-figure salaries.

In Clearwater, that would perhaps suggest the Countryside or Sunset Point areas.

Too many Publixes

Meanwhile, the Publix at U.S. 19 and Sunset Point Road has been there for decades. It was greatly expanded and updated in 1992.

But in 2008, Publix Super Markets bought about 50 Albertsons stores around Florida — including one at Beckett Lake Plaza, located a half-mile away at Sunset Point and Belcher Road.

There's not enough business in the immediate area to sustain both stores, said Publix spokeswoman Shannon Patten.

So the U.S. 19 store will close on Dec. 29.

Mike Brassfield can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4151. To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

Comments
St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable

St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable" assisted living facilities

Two assisted living facilities in St. Petersburg have been closed by local police because of "deplorable conditions," including no running water. St. Petersburg Police shut down facilities run by Tampa Bay Behavioral Health, located at 3434 Second Av...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
LA Fitness tones up Hillsborough location

LA Fitness tones up Hillsborough location

When LA Fitness on West Hillsborough Ave. reopens mid-summer, it will have undergone a $5 million renovation and a complete transformation. Closed since November 2017, the 10-year-old facility was completely torn down and is still undergoing construc...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Kids have fun and gain coding skills at Code Ninja in Westchase

Kids have fun and gain coding skills at Code Ninja in Westchase

A new program that teaches coding to kids is coming to the Tampa Bay area. Code Ninjas is a Houston-based franchise that is opening its first location in Westchase in early May. There are plans for other centers in Carrollwood, South Tampa, New Tampa...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Graze all day at Armature Works

Graze all day at Armature Works

TAMPA HEIGHTS— Graze 1910 upholds the comfortable and relaxing, yet elegant setting of Armature Works with its "comfort food" offerings and dedication to serving breakfast all day."It’s the way I eat. I graze all day," said owner Raymond "Ray" Menend...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Bucs to debut East Club Stadium at Raymond James Stadium

Bucs to debut East Club Stadium at Raymond James Stadium

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepare for the upcoming 2018 season with luxury renovations to its East Stadium Club featuring everything new and modern.These enhancements are the fourth phase of the nearly $160 million renovation of Raymond James Stadium,...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

TAMPA — The old Trump tower site on Tampa’s Riverwalk has for years remained empty as a knocked-out tooth, but on Thursday developers put flesh on a vision for what they tout as Tampa’s tallest building, with its most exclusive set of condominiums an...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

ST. PETERSBURG — Those who use mass transit across the Tampa Bay area can ride for free on Sunday.To celebrate Earth Day, both the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) will be offering...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

TAMPA — At the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City, hotelier Ian Schrager transformed a Jazz Age building with its own rich history into a destination offering even more heady experiences — extravagant, edgy and bohemian.In Tampa, Schager will have ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as new CEO

Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as new CEO

CLEARWATER — Tech Data, Tampa Bay’s largest public company, has named Richard "Rich" T. Hume as its new chief executive officer, effective June 6.Hume, Tech Data’s executive vice president and chief operating officer since joining the company in 2016...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Downtown’s success creates noisy problem for St. Petersburg

Downtown’s success creates noisy problem for St. Petersburg

Times Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG — Downtown’s rapid growth has not been without tension between its residents and the businesses and events that draw exuberant crowds. The city, which has been attempting to amend its noise ordinance o...
Updated: 7 hours ago