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Publix continues its innovative ways with a new multi-level store opening Aug. 28 on Treasure Island, Fla. The 28,000-square-foot store, smaller than the typical Publix unit, is packed with many features for beach residents, including a six-slip boat dock on the Intracoastal Waterway so shoppers can arrive and leave by boat.
"It's about what works in each community," Maria Brous, Publix spokeswoman for the Lakeland, Fla.-based grocer, told Progressive Grocer. "Florida is unique. There's lots of congestions and land is limited so we have to think outside of the box in some cases."
Brous noted, for example, that not every site can sustain the number of parking spaces required so some stores have above-ground parking and some have below-ground.
Store size is also variable by area. "We have a range of 28,000 square feet to 61,000 square feet, so we choose what we think will work best in a community."
The Treasure Island store has a ground entrance on Gulf Boulevard with steps to the second floor shopping level, or access via one of four small elevators located in the northwest corner of the parking garage underneath. Smaller-than-usual shopping carts will be available and a smaller-than-most produce department will feature a full selection of conventional and organic produce. Windows on the north side of the building have been positioned so customers can catch a glimpse of the Gulf of Mexico while standing in line at checkout.
The store will stay open even when power is out in the area. Publix invested $200 million in the past few years to make sure all of its stores in Florida have a generator, usually located behind the store. Due to the relatively smaller space in the new store, the generator is on the second floor roof.
Publix said it plans two additional multi-level stores in St. Petersburg and Tampa.