In the Chattanooga area, Publix has three stores and plans to add at least two more in the market.
• 5928 Hixson Pike in Hixson
• 8644 East Brainerd Road in East Brainerd
• 5958 Snow Hill Road in Ooltewah
• North Market Street in North Chattanooga
• Mouse Creek Crossings in Cleveland
For months, residents and city officials have been throwing around the 'P' word.
That's right ... Publix.
Last week, the southern grocery giant announced that a large store will open in Cleveland by next fall, and many hope the chain's next announcement in the Chattanooga area will be a store opening on the North Shore.
On Monday, a representative of Publix, said that is still very possible. Publix expects to grow in Chattanooga, but officials won't say where or when.
Another site in North Chattanooga is "being considered," said Brenda Reid, a Publix spokeswoman.
"It's being negotiated," she said. "It hasn't been confirmed. There is a possibility that more sites will open."
Publix has built a lot of loyalty in the Scenic City, and expects to do well in Cleveland, too, she said.
Reid said Publix wants to "serve those that are driving farther to shop."
As one of the 10 largest-volume supermarket chains in the U.S., Publix owns 1,061 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee. Its first store opened in Winter Haven, Fla., in 1930.
Tennessee has 33 stores, the fewest in the chain's region.
The stores are known for their cleanliness, brand items, fat-trimmed meats and fresh baked goods, Reid said.
The company signed a 20-year-lease with Mouse Creek Crossings in Cleveland. The 54,000-square-foot, stand-alone building will boast a pharmacy and bakery, said Bassam Issa, developer and owner of Mouse Creek Crossings.
For four years, Publix had been working to secure property at Mouse Creek Crossings, he said. In 2009, it signed a lease with another developer. When Issa bought the land from Northwest Georgia Bank, he got the lease.
Neither he nor Publix would say what the total investment will be in the new grocery outlet. But the new store will create around 100 jobs.
And Cleveland is excited about the news, said Issa, even though there is a Wal-Mart nearby and a Bi-Lo a mile and a half down the road.
"Everyone has been waiting for a long time," he said. "Just the brand name is what everyone has been hungry for. It's a different caliber."
Contact staff writer Joan Garrett at email@example.com or 423-757-6601. Follow her on Twitter at @JoanGarrettCTFP.