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Lucky's Market could be coming to Tampa Bay soon

The Lucky’s Market in Naples. The organic grocer has plans to expand in Florida. (Justine Griffin   |   Times)
The Lucky’s Market in Naples. The organic grocer has plans to expand in Florida. (Justine Griffin | Times)
Published Feb. 9, 2016

There's been a lot of buzz about some of the new grocery stores coming into Florida.

One of these is Lucky's Market, where you can sip a glass of wine or a beer while you shop. (Not kidding.) They even have a handy cup holder on the shopping carts.

The Boulder-based organic supermarket chain, which has a tag line of "organic for the 99 percent," has two stores in Florida, one in Gainesville and another in Naples. After hearing rumors that Lucky's Market may be heading into the Tampa Bay area soon, I had to see what all the fuss is about.

So I stopped by the new Lucky's Market in Naples on Sunday. Located at 3815 Tamiami Trail E., the store opened Jan. 13 following a "bacon cutting ceremony." (Still not kidding.)

At 38,300 square feet, Lucky's Market is double the size of your average Trader Joe's. It's bigger than the Fresh Market stores but smaller than a traditional Publix. It's more in line with your average Whole Foods Market, if only in size comparison.

The store had two garage door-styled openings at the produce section, making it feel more like an open-air market. Also near the front of the store is Lucky's Cafe, where you can purchase a snack or a $2 pint of beer or $3 glass of wine to "sip and stroll," like the signs read.

Lucky's has an extensive salad, prepared meals and olive bar in the center of the store. It looked like it could rival Whole Foods' hot bar, which I love for a quick to-go lunch. The store seemed to value its deli and bakery sections. Each department was overflowing with goods. All the bread was handmade in the store. The meat case was stocked full of cuts I've never seen in another supermarket. The produce is generally better than what you get from Publix, too, though I'd say it's on par with the other organic grocers we already have in Tampa Bay.

But beware, you'll pay more for these goods than you would at Publix. Prices on average seemed to be a few bucks more. A three-piece boneless chicken breast package ranged anywhere from $8 to $11. A bag of frozen Key West peeled shrimp was $21 on sale. I did get a pound of Alaskan sockeye salmon for $9.99, which is usually what I pay at Publix when it's on sale. For my two favorite bottles of wine that I usually get at Publix, Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon was the same price ($7.99) but the 14 Hands red blend was a couple of dollars more ($15).

Lucky's Market is serious about wine and beer. More than a quarter of the store is dedicated to it, with a special section for locally brewed drinks, an entire wall of craft beer selections and row after row of wine. For this alone, I give Lucky's two thumbs up.

Unlike Trader Joe's, you can do all your shopping at a Lucky's Market. They sell laundry detergent, vitamins and shampoo. They even have an apothecary department that sells chilled probiotics. Some of the brands I've bought in Publix before, like Amy's Kitchen organic frozen foods, Seventh Generation dish soap, and soft drinks like Coke and La Croix seltzer water, are sold there, too.

Lucky's Market opened its first Florida store quietly in Gainesville a year ago. Now there's two, with plans for three more. The chain's expansion here is similar to Trader Joe's, which started in Naples in 2012, then Sarasota, and quickly began opening stores all over the state.

There are no plans for a Tampa Bay area store yet, but I bet it's only a matter of time before Lucky's Market heads this way.

Contact Justine Griffin at Follow @SunBizGriffin.