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New, larger Publix sets opening for midsummer

The 61,000-square-foot store at Florida and Nebraska avenues is close to Avila and southern Lutz.

By SHERYL KAY
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 28, 2002


LUTZ -- Six months after breaking ground at a well-known Lutz intersection, Publix is gearing up for an Aug. 1 grand opening of one of its largest supermarkets.

The new store at the apex of Florida and Nebraska avenues will replace a Publix just slightly south, at 15025 Florida Ave.

It will measure 61,000 feet, comparable to the new Publix at Ehrlich and Sheldon roads in Citrus Park.

"We have any number of stores, from 27,000 square feet, to 36,000, 44,000, 54,000," said Lee Brunson, corporate spokesman for the Lakeland chain. "The different size models allow us to build different size stores for different size properties."

Brunson said that employees from the closing store will be offered jobs at the new one, although hiring will not happen until one month before opening day.

The apex location, convenient to both Florida and Nebraska avenues, also places the Publix in close proximity to Avila and the newer subdivisions in southern Lutz.

"It used to take me 15 minutes (one way) to get to the other Publix," said financial adviser Duane Robinson of Windsor Park. "I go to Publix about one and a half times a week, and now its going to be only five minutes away, if even."

County property records show that Publix paid $3-million for the real estate. Grocery prices will be in line with other stores, Brunson said. Service areas will be larger and the store will have a drive-through pharmacy.

Customers will have to decide whether bigger is better.

"Actually, I like a smaller store," Robinson said. "But the proof will be when it gets finished and what it turns out like."

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