Publix

Here’s when downtown St. Pete’s new Publix opens, and why it’s a big deal for the grocer

Feb 14, 2017, 2:58pm EST Updated Feb 14, 2017, 3:06pm EST

Publix Super Markets Inc. is nearly ready to take the wraps off its second store in downtown St. Petersburg.

The store at Central Avenue and Seventh Street South is slated to open March 16, Publix spokesman Brian West said Tuesday.

At 28,000 square feet, the new store is among the company’s smallest. Publix stores range from around 28,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet, though it’s working on a prototype that’s closer to 20,000 square feet.

The new St. Pete store achieves a rare goal in urban real estate, West said: It’s small without feeling crunched for space.

Many of Publix’s smaller urban stores have narrower aisles that can be difficult to navigate with a shopping cart. But the St. Pete store maintains normal aisle sizes.

Publix recently debuted a store in downtown Birmingham with a similar feel. See inside that store, on the ground floor of Midtown 20, a mixed-used development, here.

“It’s more like you just shrunk down a normal store,” West said. “Instead of having really long aisles, it has many shorter aisles.”

Adapting to tight, urban real estate is critical to Publix’s future growth, particularly as it looks to enter the metro D.C. area in the coming years.

Smaller prototypes give Publix more flexibility when building stores in dense urban neighborhoods like college towns and coastal areas. Smaller stores also represent the grocery industry’s future, as grocers embrace ecommerce and emphasize delivery options.

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