Residents of student dormitories and other housing at or near the University of South Florida’s main campus will soon have a new shopping venue. A Publix Supermarket is rising on Fletcher Avenue at USF Palm Drive on the northern edge of campus. It’s expected to open in the last quarter of 2018 or first quarter of 2019.
“This is a brand new store from the ground up,” says Brian West, Media and Community Relations Manager for Publix’s Central, Western, and Southwest Florida region, who indicates the store will not replace any of the supermarket’s existing operations.
The Publix will be less than 30,000-square-feet, roughly half the size of its regular stores and comparable to the Publix opened in downtown St. Petersburg in March 2017, he says.
It will feature an outdoor seating area and a grab-and-go food section with prepared foods such as sandwiches and salads prepared daily.
Construction began in February as part of a new walkable village-concept area on the northeast corner of the USF campus that includes new dorms, a fitness center, a food court and outdoor gathering spaces.
While traditional stores staff around 120, the number and timeline wasn’t yet available for the new Publix. But the company typically prefers to transfer existing employees to their new stores initially.
“There’s a very small number that are brand new to the company that would start at a brand new store,” West says. “We transfer existing associates.”
That way new employees are surrounded by experienced ones, he explains.
Job candidates can apply at kiosks at existing stores, and their applications are available at surrounding stores. It takes about 45 minutes and applications will remain active for 30 days. After that, applications would need to be renewed.
“Surrounding stores are always hiring,” he says. “We’re in a fortunate position where we’re always hiring new help.”
The Lakeland-based grocery chain, founded in Winter Haven in 1930 by the late George W. Jenkins, has grown to more than 1,100 stores. The privately-held company, with stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee, ranked 47th among the 2018 FORTUNE “100 Best Companies to Work For.” It ranked first in the Tampa Bay region followed by the Clearwater-based Baycare Health System, the 65th.
The northern fringe of the campus is lined with housing and medical-related facilities. The grocery will be in close proximity to University Community Hospital, John Knox Village and the USF golf course, The Claw.
On the western side of campus, a luxury student housing complex is being constructed on the east side of University Mall. Called The Standard, the complex is expected to open for leasing in fall of 2019.