GreenWise is com­ing, but where will it be?

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Money - Doreen Chris­tensen

Shop­pers are won­der­ing what Publix plans to do with the old Safe­way lo­ca­tion on East Com­mer­cial Boule­vard in Oakland Park.

As I re­ported in June, Publix ac­quired the only Safe­way stores in Florida in Oakland Park, Al­ta­monte Springs and Largo. They were closed in late Au­gust to be re­opened un­der the Publix ban­ner by the end of the year.

Reader Cheryl Woda emailed me, say­ing she heard talk that a Publix GreenWise would open in Safe­way’s place.

That move would make a lot of sense, since the store at 950 NE 50th St. is across the street from an­other Publix mar­ket.

I asked Publix for an up­date.

“While this lo­ca­tion will be­come a tra­di­tional Publix, we are ex­cited about a GreenWise Mar­ket open­ing in Boca some­time in 2019,” said spokes­woman Ni­cole Krauss. Wait, what?

Two tra­di­tional Publix stores across the street from each other in Oakland Park and two GreenWise stores in Boca Ra­ton seems odd.

A GreenWise Mar­ket opened in 2007 on St. Andrews Boule­vard. The new store will be a cou­ple of miles away at the south­west cor­ner of Glades and Boca Rio roads.

It’s un­clear if the orig­i­nal GreenWise store will re­main open. Lake­land-based Publix says the new store will be smaller and com­pletely dif­fer­ent as it re-imag­ines and ex­pands the or­ganic and nat­u­ral con­cept to com­pete head-to­head with Whole Foods Mar­ket and other or­ganic gro­cers.

The tuned-up GreenWise Mar­ket, which will not have Publix in its name, will of­fer “a thought­fully cu­rated se­lec­tion of or­ganic, spe­cialty and tra­di­tional gro­cery items” aimed at health-con­scious shop­pers.

“We learned a lot from the Publix GreenWise Mar­ket cur­rently in Boca Ra­ton and are ex­cited to launch this new shop­ping des­ti­na­tion,” Kevin Mur­phy, a se­nior vice pres­i­dent of re­tail op­er­a­tions, said in a news re­lease. “The new GreenWise Mar­ket con­cept fea­tures a sim­pli­fied en­vi­ron­ment de­signed to show off our unique and house-made of­fer­ings. We be­lieve our cus­tomers will ap­pre­ci­ate our cu­rated se­lec­tion.”

The first new GreenWise will open near Florida State Univer­sity in Tal­la­has­see on Oct. 6. Other lo­ca­tions also are un­der­way in South Carolina and Lake­land, with many other sites be­ing iden­ti­fied.

“We think food­ies and health-con­scious cus­tomers alike will love what the store will of­fer,” Mur­phy said.

A GreenWise Mar­ket is open­ing in Boca Ra­ton in 2019, ac­cord­ing to a spokes­woman, but what about Oakland Park? “We’re es­pe­cially ex­cited to an­nounce a lo­ca­tion in our home­town.” That store will open next, Publix said.

GreenWise stores will be about 25,000-square feet and fea­ture a wide se­lec­tion of pre­pared foods, from bur­rito bowls and sushi to smoked wings and fresh-baked piz­zas. Gro­cery aisles will be stocked with GreenWise store brands, and other nat­u­ral/or­ganic na­tional brands, an­tibi­otic- and hor­mone-free meats, sus­tain­ably sourced seafood, home­made sausages, a spe­cialty baker and an ar­ray of ar­ti­sanal cheeses and other good eats. Stores also will carry nat­u­ral per­sonal care prod­ucts and vi­ta­mins. Gro­cery carts will even have cuphold­ers for kom­bucha (still won­der­ing what the heck that is), wine and craft beer on tap. Now you’re talk­ing!

GreenWise 2.0 sounds like a mashup of Whole Foods and Lucky’s Mar­ket, which, in­ci­den­tally, has a store un­der con­struc­tion at Glades Road and 95th Av­enue

South in Boca Ra­ton. The Boul­der-based af­ford­able or­ganic gro­cer will also open stores in Da­nia Beach and Cooper City next year.

Sprouts Farm­ers Mar­ket also is mov­ing into South Florida. The Phoenix-based healthy gro­cery chain has not an­nounced dates yet for planned stores in Deer­field Beach and Welling­ton.

Sur­veys show pricier or­gan­ics are a fast-grow­ing cat­e­gory in su­per­mar­kets as more shop­pers, es­pe­cially young ones, de­mand qual­ity food ahead of cost.

More com­pe­ti­tion means Publix must ex­per­i­ment and ex­pand to stay com­pet­i­tive.

Here’s a thought: Per­haps af­ter the tra­di­tional mar­ket opens in the old Safe­way build­ing, that Publix across the street will be­come a GreenWise Mar­ket.

“You never know,” Krauss said. “We’re re­ally ex­cited about this new con­cept.”

ILLUSTRATION COURTESY GREENWISE MAR­KET

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