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Buffet of perks

Roughly 100 people were in line when the reimagined Publix at 3700 Fourth St. N in St. Petersburg opened at 8 a.m. Thursday.

Dave Springer, 64, a retired worker for Pinellas County, was first in line. He had waited for the store to open since 6 a.m.

"It's not a store, it's an experience," said Springer, who has been a Publix loyalist for eight years.

The store returns to a popular area for grocers.

A Fresh Market is just down the street, and a Trader Joe's is coming not far from that. Michael Mina's Locale market opens next month in the Sundial plaza downtown. Then there's the older Publix right across the street, in Northeast Park Shopping Center.

The newer version brings to the competition salad and hot food bars, a gut-busting selection of craft brews and a wine expert for people who prefer their alcohol derived from grapes. Oh, and a health and beauty adviser, too.

Times staff