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Sweetbay will not keep Midtown store open

ST. PETERSBURG — Sweetbay Supermarket will not extend the closing date for the Midtown store.

Company officials met with Mayor Bill Foster and the store landlord Tuesday evening in Gainesville.

Foster and Larry Newsome made pitches to keep the store open for another six months.

The store, at 22nd Street and 18th Avenue S, still plans to close Feb. 13.

"We look forward to working together with Mayor Foster to quickly find a grocer that can help meet the needs of this community," Sweetbay spokeswoman Nicole LeBeau said Wednesday morning.

Foster requested the meeting last week after holding a news conference with other elected officials to stress how vital the store is to the redevelopment of the Midtown neighborhood.

Foster and Newsome declined to comment late Tuesday.

Sweetbay recently announced plans to close 33 stores, including 22 in the Tampa Bay area. The store in the Tangerine Plaza plans a Feb. 13 closing but will likely go dark sooner because meat and produce aren't being replenished.

Everything at the store is discounted by 50 percent, but meat and produces shelves are largely empty. People were flocking to the store Wednesday to scoop up deals.

Mark Puente can be reached at mpuente@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow him at Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.

Sweetbay will not keep Midtown store open 01/30/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 10:51pm]
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