WESLEY CHAPEL — The Epperson Ranch area was the first to have a crystal-clear manmade lagoon built for residents, and now, it is one of the few areas with a new Publix prototype designed to elevate the shopping experience for customers.
Last month, Publix Super Markets at Innovation Springs opened at Curley and Overpass roads.
“We are excited to open our doors today at Innovation Springs,” said Hannah Herring, Publix media relations manager. “We look forward to introducing customers to an array of new offerings and providing them with the service and quality products they know and love.”
The 55,701-square-foot store is larger than your regular Publix and offers the usual offerings of dairy, frozen food, seafood, meat and fresh produce familiar to loyal customers, as well as a full-service bakery, deli and pharmacy.
But some of the more notable changes include:
• A deli area that offers an expansive selection of Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, and other handcrafted old-world delicacies.
• Similar to what higher-scale groceries like Whole Foods and Sprouts already offers, there is also a salad bar, a hot food buffet that, on the day we visited, featured things like rice pilaf, creamy potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts.
• The deli area also has a food island where customers can purchase fresh pizza, burritos and bowls, and tacos, nachos and enchiladas, to name a few.
There is an olive bar and a popcorn stand, as well.
•The Publix scratch bakery is larger, with many items in self-serve displays (like doughnuts) and a wide array of various breads, cakes and decadent desserts.
• The meat and seafood departments have larger displays — especially the meat — with fresh offerings if you’re not interested in a prepackaged purchase.
• The Pours area will be one of the most popular attractions, with a seating area, or bar, and a selection of drinks to sip on while you relax or shop.
It has locally roasted coffee, as well as caffeinated specialties like café con leche, lattes and cappuccinos as well as tea. There is cold brew coffee, craft sodas, wine, beer and kombucha on tap, and acai bowls and smoothies.
Publix opened a similar 61,000-square-foot “prototype” in the Gandy Shopping Center in March, and such stores could be the future of Publix moving forward.
According to Tampa Bay Business Journal, the Wesley Chapel location is only the third store that is built in the most current “prototype” style.
Herring told the Tampa Beacon that the newer, larger Publix stores are built depending “a number of variables that contribute to the decision on which layout to build in a location.”
Publix, which currently operates 1,364 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky, donated $1,000 in gift cards and nonperishable items to Helping Hands of Wesley Chapel as part of the company’s grand opening and commitment to the local community.
The shelf-stable food will be delivered to Helping Hands by the Publix Good Together truck.
“We are proud to support our local community with the donation of these food items,” said Herring. “At Publix, we believe our greatest opportunity to give back is by helping put food on the tables of our neighbors in need, and we’re proud to make this donation during today’s grand opening.”