The Ikea store near Tampa's Ybor City remains a hot retailing spot for consumers. This 2010 photo of store manager Monica Varela captures her among Ikea's extensive lighting department. If you go, try the Swedish meatballs and, of course, the fresh cinnamon buns. Photo: Edmund D. Fountain, Tampa Bay Times.
Wake up and good morning. Every once in a while, Tampa Bay gets the opportunity to woo one of the "hot" retailers that so many of us consider a "gotta have" for this market. Tampa nailed a whopper when Ikea opened there in 2008. St. Petersburg was a winner with the opening of a Fresh Market upscale grocery store in 2010. And Tampa Bay still wants an Outdoor World/Bass Pro Shops store, despite some recent setbacks in negotiations for retail space.
What's next? Certainly high on the list of stores we want but lack is Trader Joe's, the quirky grocery store. I've shopped at Trader Joe's in Connecticut and Tucson, Ariz., and it's a cool experience. And now a Trader Joe's is getting closer to this metro area.
A new Trader Joe's will open in Sarasota in September, becoming the second store of the chain to open in Florida after a debut in tony Naples. Read more from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. (AP photo, right: A Trader Joe's opening in Los Angeles.)
Are we next? The geographic trajectory (Naples to Sarasota to Tampa Bay?) feels right. Keep your fingers crossed.
What other cool stores would you like to see open in the Tampa Bay area?
-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times