Lake Miriam Publix to Get 'Unique Remodel

The Publix store at Lake Miriam Shopping Center on South Florida Avenue in Lakeland will be
undergoing an extensive remodel within the next few months, and the revamped store will have a number
of features new to Publix stores in Polk County. LAKELAND | Publix Super Markets Inc. will experiment a little when its Lake Miriam Square store is remodeled this summer.The 35 year old store at 4730 S. Florida Ave. will be the first in Polk County to receive an Apron's
Cooking School, as well as an Apron's Event Planning desk. The revamped location also will incorporate
elements from Publix's "hybrid" stores, which blend traditional Publix markets with the grocer's Greenwise
Market locations. Greenwise Markets focus on natural and organic foods. Lake Miriam shoppers "truly are getting something special," said Publix spokeswoman Shannon Patten. "This store is a very unique remodel for us. In addition to enhancing the overall environment, we will also
have the opportunity to bring in new services and enhance the product offerings."
Patten said the remodel could begin as early as July, and is expected to take five to six months. The store will remain open the entire time, with the more extensive work performed during off hours. Patten said Publix hopes to have the Apron's Cooking School open during the fall. The existing cooking school locations, meant to be accessible for both novice and experienced cooks, offer classes on specific
cuisines and techniques, while also delving into things like desserts and holiday meals. The Event Planning desk will allow shoppers to combine services from multiple store departments, such as bakery and floral, for occasions including birthdays, weddings and anniversaries.
Other notable features for the remodeled Lake Miriam location include a seating area where customers can dine in, creative merchandise displays, an expanded selection of natural and organic foods, as well as more housewares, health and wellness items. The new decor will feature warm and earthy colors, and make use of natural materials like stacked stones. "The entire look and feel of the store will be different, because we are changing the colors and changing the environment," Patten said. The Lake Miriam remodel follows a number of area construction projects for Lakeland

In recent years the grocer has completely rebuilt its Southgate Shopping Center location in Lakeland and a store in Bartow, and it is doing the same at its Lake Gibson store in north Lakeland. Publix, which operates a total 1,051 stores, has more than 100 remodeling projects in the works, Patten said. Earlier this year, Publix's vice president of real estate, Jeff Chamberlain, said the chain was pursuing store
remodeling and rebuilding projects as a way to continue growing business during a weak economy. A 2011 Food Marketing Institute survey of 104 food retailers showed that about 52 percent were planning to remodel stores, while 37 percent of respondents had plans to build new locations. "As credit markets remain tight, store development activity remains subdued," the FMI report concluded. Sprucing up stores is a proven tactic for grocers to increase their bottom line, said Bill Justin, an Alpharetta, Ga. based supermarket consultant.
"Remodeling effectively by accentuating quality, cleanliness, improving stock levels (and) improved signage ... is almost a guaranteed increase in sales," said Justin, of W.L. Justin and Associates. "It is very cost effective to remodel and look new all the time. It allows you to upgrade but utilize much of the equipment you already own," he said. "You already have the customer base and a remodel will grow it additionally. It is a strong, competitive strategy."


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