Q: Any updates on the Publix in Naples Towne Center? Seems like construction has been going on for over a year.
— Joy Hancock, Naples
A: After experiencing some construction delays in building out its store in the former Lucky’s Market space in East Naples, Publix tentatively plans to launch its new store this summer at 3815 Tamiami Trail E. in Naples Towne Centre South.
“At the moment, we’re still too far away for a definitive date. We’re hoping for early third quarter,” said Brian West, community relations manager for Lakeland-based Publix Super Markets Inc.
At slightly more than 38,000 square feet, the new Publix will be smaller than the grocer’s average store. Labeled on site development plans as a prototype, this new Publix store differs from a traditional Publix supermarket in that it will have the region’s first Pours beverage bar. Pours offers local craft beers, wine, coffee, kombucha, smoothies and açaí bowls with seating in a café setting and at a bar just inside the store’s entrance.
Similar to a customer service that was available at Lucky’s Market, Publix patrons will be able to sip wine and beer as they shop in this new store. It’s a concept borrowed from Publix’s health-forward GreenWise Market and not available yet at any other Publix in this area.
Publix promotes Pours on its website: “Get a freshly brewed coffee, a glass of wine, or beer that you can sip while you shop. Relax at our bar with on-tap kombucha or a freshly made açai bowl. Or grab a fruit smoothie for the road.” Pours also offers draft beer in pints or flights as well as premium teas and coffees such as a cappuccino, iced lattes and nitro cold brews.
Some of these nonalcoholic beverages are available at Publix Café locations such as the hybrid store at the Marketplace at Pelican Bay in North Naples. The Publix at Naples Plaza offers an in-store Starbucks location.
The new Publix at Naples Towne Centre is only about a mile away from the supermarket the company operates in the Shoppes at Hammock Cove and about 2 miles away from its store in Kings Lake Square. That’s why the new store initially was expected to be a GreenWise concept, but it’s actually more traditional — except for the Pours exception.
Also, rather than its customary location along the edge of the store, the delicatessen service area will be an island on the sales floor between the produce and meat departments. An adjacent station will have a self-serve cold bar area with endcaps on either end for olives and soups, plans show. The prototype store also is expected to have a mezzanine and some self-checkout lanes.
Other departments for the new Publix include a bakery, seafood, cheeses, floral, pharmacy and wine and beer. Publix Liquors will use the same adjoining retail space that was used for Lucky’s wine and spirits with its own entrance on the northwest corner of the building.
Modifications to already approved plans for the store may be responsible for part of its construction delays. In April, the county approved a nominal alteration plan to the site development plan it initially approved. Plans show minor exterior changes to the northeast rear corner of the store, including a proposed new code-compliant exit ramp and new concrete pads for a standby generator, emergency generator, trash compactor and speed-lift.
Shortly after Kroger divested its three-year stake in the Colorado-based chain, Lucky’s Market permanently closed all of its Florida stores and most of its stores nationwide in early 2020. In a Lucky’s Market bankruptcy deal, Publix paid $11.5 million to assume the leases of five of the Florida stores that Lucky’s had operated in East Naples, Clermont, Neptune Beach, Orlando and Ormond Beach. The new Publix stores in Neptune Beach and Ormond Beach, both on the east coast, will also have Pours beverage bars, a Publix spokesperson reports.
Between that future Publix supermarket and the existing Aaron’s lease-to-own retail store in Naples Towne Centre, Sammy’s
Pizza also is targeted to open this summer in a 1,488-square-foot unit, said Brittany Manau, who co-owns the pizzeria with her husband, Scott. The Manaus operate four other locations of their family restaurant near Chicago and look forward to finally being able to open their business in Naples.
“Our manager, Gina Reid, relocated to Naples with her husband Dan and asked us to consider opening a store,” Mrs. Manau said. “She was a great employee and friend, so we decided to give it a try. Dan was also our food rep and can support Gina at the restaurant. We have enjoyed many visits to beautiful Naples and hope this will be a reason to continue to come down.”
Established in 1953 in Kankakee, Illinois, Sammy’s is home of the Tough Guy — signature pizza, burger, chicken and egg roll items featuring pepperoni, sausage, Canadian bacon, pizza sauce, garlic, crushed red pepper and mozzarella. Sammy’s extensive menu has thin-crust pizza, Italian pasta favorites, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, seafood baskets, egg rolls, salads, appetizers and desserts.
“The menu (in Naples) might be slightly smaller, but we’ll have all our favorites for sure,” Mrs. Manau said.
The former Lucky’s Market anchor space at the Promenade at Naples Centre also will have a new tenant this fall. After operating for 15 years in the Carillon Place retail center at Airport-Pulling and Pine Ridge roads, Total Wine is relocating less than a mile away to the former Lucky’s and Wild Oats grocery store near the corner of Airport-Pulling Road and Naples Boulevard in North Naples.
The liquor superstore chain with a wine focus will increase its local store size more than 150%, expanding from 19,000 square feet to 29,349 square feet. Total Wine is targeted to make its big move near the end of September. ¦
— “Tim Aten Knows” is published each week in Naples Florida Weekly. Email questions to TimAtenKnows@floridaweekly.com. Follow @TimAtenKnows on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.