After seeing a steady stream of shoppers making the drive from Bradley County to the Publix store in Ooltewah, the supermarket chain's officials saw a need in the marketplace and decided to meet it.
On Wednesday at 7 a.m., Publix will unveil its first store in Cleveland, Tenn. - the company's newest in the Chattanooga area - as it continues to broaden its footprint in the region.
"Customers traveled a good distance to shop at the Ooltewah store," said company spokeswoman Brenda Reid. "We thought it best to open a store to be more convenient for our customers."
Reid said the 54,700-square-foot Cleveland store, which will employ about 135 people, is an example of how the grocer typically grows.
"We look at how far people drive to shop with us and target the communities they're driving from," she said.
The Paul Huff Parkway store is the Florida-based chain's fourth in the area, with a fifth underway on Chattanooga's North Shore.
The new store will have the traditional grocery, dairy and frozen food departments along with a full-service pharmacy with drive-through window, according to Publix. Also available will be a full-service meat department, a seafood counter, bakery offerings, a deli and a produce department boasting both organic and conventionally grown fruits and vegetables.
Bassam Issa, the developer of the $15 million Mouse Creek Crossing shopping center where the Publix will sit, said the store is centrally located in a key retail sector in Cleveland. It's sited near Bradley Square Mall and at the joining of several major roads.
Issa said another 10,000 square feet of space in the shopping center next to the Publix just opened. Other tenants in the development include several smaller shops and medical offices, he said. A 20,000-square-foot out parcel also is nearby, he said.
The shopping center is about 94 percent leased, Issa said, and he expects it to reach 100 percent in a month or two.
In North Chattanooga, three buildings were demolished to make room for the downtown grocery store, which will include 4,800 square feet of separate, additional retail space. Construction on the North Market Street site began in late summer. That store is expected to open by mid-2014.
Publix, which is privately held, has 162,000 employees with 1,076 stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee. Its 2012 sales came in at $27.5 billion.
Contact Mike Pare at email@example.com or 423-757-6318.