Stock clerk Karl Heintz straightens one of the store’s bowed, radial shelves with Greenwise organic products.
TREASURE ISLAND – A crowd of more than 200 is expected Thursday, Aug. 28, when Publix Supermarkets opens one of its more innovative stores at 111 104th Ave.
By Publix standards, the 28,000-square-foot store is small but company officials have incorporated as many features as possible they anticipate to be useful for beach residents.
“It’s one-of-a-kind,” said Publix spokeswoman Shannon Patten. “We had to tweak it a lot to make everything fit. It’s smaller but not lacking.”
The store has a ground entrance on Gulf Boulevard with steps to the second-floor shopping level, or one of four elevators located in the northwest corner of the parking garage underneath.
Smaller-than-normal shopping carts will be available in the store foyer and shoppers will be greeted by a circular customer desk upon entering. To the immediate right will be a full deli, a sub shop, hot foods, Boar’s Head products and a bakery with fresh breads, donuts and 25 desserts.
The store’s produce department is smaller than most Publix supermarkets but will not be lacking, store officials say, featuring conventional and organic produce and plenty of fresh-cut fruit.
There also will be a full seafood department with sushi, custom-cut meats and all-natural poultry, beef and chicken.
Other features include a wide selection of pool and beach accessories, sunscreen and sunglasses; bowed shelving for organic Greenwise products, dried all-natural snacks, flowers, balloons and gift baskets, and 100 feet of wine and spirits offerings.
Windows on the north side of the building have been positioned in a manner that allow customers to catch a glimpse of the Gulf of Mexico while standing in line for checkout at one of the store’s five cash registers.
District manager Tim Henning said getting customers safely in and out of the elevators the first few days will be a major challenge. For that reason, bag boys will be taking groceries to cars for customers the first few days.
“Another challenge was getting the equipment in here earlier than normal due to the uniqueness of the building,” Henning said.
Because the elevators are limited in size, some of the larger pieces of equipment such as the coolers and bakery-deli equipment, had to be hoisted by crane into the building through a specially designed hole in the wall.
The multi-level design also presented a challenge for truck deliveries. The store features two bays for trucks to back into, two 8-by-8-foot service elevators for store workers to transport stock from the first floor to the second level and a special trash drop from the second level to the ground.
The store also will be open even when power is out in the area.
“Publix has invested $200 million in the past few years to make sure all of its stores in Florida have a generator,” said Patten. “Normally, it’s located behind the store, but due to a smaller than normal amount of space it’s located on the second floor roof of the Treasure Island store.”
The store also will include a six-slip boat dock on the Intracoastal Waterway for boaters interested in making a quick stop for groceries.
The store will employ 110 and about 50 percent of the staff come from other Publix stores in the area.
The management team consists of Store Manager Suzzanne Younkman, Assistant Store Manager Vince Hartley, Customer Service Manager Marianne Alderman, Grocery Manager Syd Ramlochan, Meat Manager Roland Moreno, Produce Manager Frederick Jackl, Deli Manager Jerome Cobbe and Bakery Manager Michele Baker.
Store hours will be 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.
The multi-level store is one of three Publix plans to unveil in upcoming months. Others are planned at 1600 66th St. N. in St. Petersburg and 2403 W. Azeele St., Tampa.