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    Publix Takes 'First Step' Toward Chattanooga

    LAKELAND, Fla. -Publix Super Markets here is hoping to add the Chattanooga market to its Tennessee expansion strategy--and took its first step in that direction yesterday as it filed an application with the city planning commission for a new unit in Hixson.

    LAKELAND, Fla. -Publix Super Markets here is hoping to add the Chattanooga market to its Tennessee expansion strategy--and took its first step in that direction yesterday as it filed an application with the city planning commission for a new unit in Hixson.

    The Hixson site, where Publix hopes to build a 54,000-foot-store, is currently zoned for residential use. If Publix's application is accepted, an approval for rezoning for convenience and commercial use could come as early as January 2007, chain spokeswoman Maria Brous told Progressive Grocer.
    (Story continues below.)

    Publix also hopes to open a second Chattanooga-area store at a former Winn-Dixie in the East Brainerd neighborhood, Brous said. That location is 45,000 square feet.

    The two locations are contingent upon one another, she added. "We want to have a presence when entering the market, so we'd rather open the two stores around the same time."

    Other grocery retailers competing in the Chattanooga area include Bi-Lo, Food Lion, Aldi, and Wal-Mart.

    Publix, which currently operates 13 stores in middle Tennessee, is eyeing more locations throughout that part of the state, including Goodlettsville and Murfreesboro.

    Publix entered the Nashville market in mid-2002.
    --Jennifer McTaggart

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