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Columns

Bringing home the bacon just got easier

By ANDREW SKERRITT
Published March 30, 2007


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Alice O'Neill was finished shopping for the day. A bag of groceries sat on the floor of her transport. On the passenger seat sat a sealed freezer bag with meats and other frozen stuff. Getting from the new Publix at Connerton to her home in the Groves was a breeze - in her golf cart.

"We've wanted this for so long," O'Neill said.

What will she do with all the money she'll save on gas from not having to drive miles to Publix on Collier Parkway? She'll spend it at her new neighborhood supermarket.

"I'll spend a lot more money now because it's so close," O'Neill said with a laugh.

Since the new 45,000-square-foot Publix in Arbor Square at Connerton opened a week ago, area residents haven't been shy about expressing how they feel about their new neighbor.

"I love it. I love it. I love it," said Vera Ellmann of the Groves as she paused from packing groceries into her car trunk

"I'm so grateful it's here in my neighborhood."

These folks grew accustomed to driving more than 10 miles round trip on dangerous U.S. 41 and State Road 54 to get to the nearest Publix. Imagine the melting ice cream and margarine under the Florida sun.

They were so excited about the new store they actually threw a "we're having a Publix party" about six or seven months before it opened.

"Customers have been writing in thanking us for having it there," said Publix spokeswoman Shannon Patten. "It's a perfect fit."

Longtime Land O'Lakes folks remember when nearby shopping options consisted of a U-Save and an Eckerd drug store. The stretch of highway between Land O'Lakes High and Spring Hill Drive was almost exclusively trees and cows. Mud bogging was a big attraction on Friday nights.

Everybody knew that wouldn't last, with Tampa pushing north. Now we have this modern Publix and all these beautiful new homes sprouting left and right. Starbucks can't be far off.

Good or bad?

"Some people will be upset by the development, the population and the traffic," offered longtime Land O'Lakes attorney Tim Hayes.

"But if you have been up here for awhile and felt like the forgotten stepchild of Pasco, you are going to see all these amenities that come with development. A lot of people are going to be quite happy with it."

They're among the folks pushing carts through the aisles at the sparkling new supermarket.

Andrew Skerritt can be reached at 813 909-4602 or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 4602. His e-mail address is askerritt@sptimes.com.

[Last modified March 30, 2007, 06:05:56]


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