TAMPA, Florida -- Ready or not, here it comes! Trader Joe's, the new concept grocery store, has reportedly been eyeing south Tampa for months, but today the company made it official, announcing the location at Swann and Dale Mabry.
But before Trader Joe's can open, Shapes Total Fitness for Women has to close, and those with a Shapes membership don't like it.
"I don't know anything about Trader Joe's. All I know is that something is closing that I don't want to see close. It's just too convenient for me and my friends," said Soho resident Penny Duhll.
Duhll doesn't like the encroachment into the neighborhood, the traffic the store will bring, or the expected noise. Neither does her son, Rod.
"I don't line the amount of traffic it will bring in here. I mean, I'm at ground zero, and it will impact this area greatly, especially at the light here at Swann. It's already crazy," said Rod Duhll.
Rod specifically doesn't like how big name stores are putting the squeeze on the little guy, but he understands that Tampa is booming, and that's why Trader Joe's want to be here.
So what makes this grocery store so special? According to the company, it's all about price point and quality. Trader Joe's said it buys from manufacturers, not distributors. They remove all the additives, preservatives, and extra stuff and market it under their brand name, claiming it's better, healthier, and comes at a great low price. The store offers more than 3,000 choices of high-quality, unique items that it said makes the brand so popular.
The company is asking the city of Tampa for a variance in two areas. First, it wants four exterior signs instead of one. Second, it wants the size of the signage to be larger than presently allowed. A special variance hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, August 13 at 6:30 p.m. at Tampa City Hall. It is open to the public.