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- 2014 - May - 6th -

Whole Foods says it has no plans to expand here

By Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

Forbes.com’s April 30 report that Whole Foods Market plans to open more than 1,000 “smaller and urban” markets logically raises the question: What about Jacksonville and Northeast Florida neighborhoods, like Downtown, San Marco, Springfield, the Beaches, St. Augustine, Orange Park, Fernandina Beach or other areas?

The answer is not now.

The Austin, Texas-based chain operates a 50,000-square-foot store in Mandarin, so it has a retailing presence and experience in Northeast Florida.

“At this time, we have no plans to open an additional store in the Jacksonville area,” said spokesman Jeremy Jones.

The Forbes.com report by contributor Scott Davis said Whole Foods was moving “into some of the toughest markets and neighborhoods in the country.”

“Whole Foods is looking for its next wave of growth by opening up over 1,000 ‘smaller and urban’ stores in markets it would have never considered 10 years ago,” Davis wrote, identifying Brooklyn; Boise, Idaho; Downtown Detroit; Lincoln, Neb.; and the “gritty” Englewood neighborhood of Chicago.

Davis wrote that in lower-income areas, Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb and his team are committed to initiatives like offering carefully selected lower-priced items compared with other locations, more of its in-house 365 Everyday Value brand and pricing fresh food individually (rather than per pound), as well as accepting the regional food stamps assistance programs.

Founded in 1980, Whole Foods Market, at wholefoodsmarket.com, is considered the leading retailer of natural and organic foods and America’s first national “Certified Organic” grocer. In fiscal 2013, it reported sales of about $13 billion and has 374 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. It employs more than 80,000 people.

On the menu

• A Golden Corral restaurant is planned for construction in West Jacksonville along Memorial Park Road next to Walgreens, near Normandy Boulevard. A concurrency and mobility-fee application filed with the city lists Golden Land Properties of Jax LLC of Orange Park as the property owner. The agent is Almond Engineering. The restaurant is designed at 11,066 square feet on 2.4 acres of vacant property.

• A McDonald’s is designed for North Jacksonville at the Duval Station shopping center. A 3,600-square-foot restaurant is planned on 1.11 acres on an outparcel along Lady Lake Road. The developer is McDonald’s USA LLC and the property owner is Duval Station Outparcel 4 LLC.

Investor buys Carrabba’s site

Fainbarg II LP, a Costa Mesa, Calif.-based partnership, paid $1.56 million for the almost 2-acre site at 8406 Blanding Blvd. occupied by Carrabba’s Italian Grill.

Fainbarg II LP bought the property

April 23 from Tri City Center LLC. The 6,500-square-foot restaurant was built in 2012 and the property is valued at almost $1.63 million by the Duval County Property Appraiser’s Office.

Fainbarg V LP, another partnership, owns the half-acre site at 6450 St. Augustine Road where Fifth Third Bank operates a branch.

Red Robin opening throughout Florida

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. is opening throughout Florida, but no plans for Jacksonville have surfaced. A company spokesman hasn’t responded to questions.

The chain, founded in 1969, has 500 restaurants across the U.S. and Canada, including those under franchise agreements.

It is based in Creekwood, Calif., and its newest Florida restaurants are in Wellington, Plantation and Sanford.

It opened in Gainesville a year ago.

With 17 Florida locations from west to south to central Florida, Jacksonville and Northeast Florida are logical next steps.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers operates through its wholly owned subsidiary, Red Robin International Inc.

For information and locations, visit redrobin.com.

Convenience stores reach $204B in sales

Which of these choices do you think is the best-selling product in convenience stores?

• Beer

• Candy, chips and snacks

• Packaged drinks, such as soda, sports drinks, water and tea.

• Prepared foods and dispensed drinks, such as coffee and soda.

• Tobacco products.

If you chose tobacco products, you would be correct.

Cigarettes and other tobacco products accounted for 37 percent of in-store sales at convenience stores in 2013, reports the Shelby Report of the Southeast.

Prepared foods and dispensed drinks were second, at 18 percent, followed by packaged drinks (15.5 percent), candy and snacks at almost 10 percent and beer at almost 8 percent.

The “other” category accounted for the rest.

But profitable sales are a different profile: Prepared foods accounted for more than 29 percent of gross profit dollars, followed by packaged drinks (19.6 percent) and then tobacco (18.7 percent).

Shelby reported that in-store sales in convenience stores reached $204 billion last year, up 2.4 percent over the year.

Combined with motor-fuel sales of $491.5 billion, overall convenience store sales reached $695.5 billion.

While fuel unit sales rose to a record average 132,029 gallons per store per month, a decline in gas prices led to an overall 2.1 percent drop in fuel sales.

The U.S convenience store count rose to 151,282 stores at year-end 2013, up by 2,062 stores over the year.

Almost 84 percent of convenience stores sell gasoline.

Licensed to serve

Duval County Tax Collector Michael Corrigan issued business licenses for:

• Barberitos, to First Coast Restaurant Group LLC, 4320 Deerwood Lake Parkway, No. 106.

• China Dragon, to Lin Qi, 4345 University Blvd. S., No. 6.

• Jax What’s Cookin, to Divided Corp., 1921 Lane Ave. S.

• Delicious Dishes by D, to Debra Denise Stewart, 4680 Wassail Drive.

• Murray’s Dine-in and Delivery LLC, to Ciarra Murray, 9906 Ridge Blvd., No. 1, mobile vendor.

• Delish Kebabs Inc., to Heloisa M. Ferreira, 7586 Vandalay Drive, mobile vendor.

Food bites

Food-related businesses filed names recently with the state Division of Corporations under the Fictitious Name Law to operate:

• Delicious Dishes by D, by Debra Denise Stewart, 4680 Wassail Drive.

• Ariana Kabob Pizza & Grill, by Ariana Kabob & Grill LLC, 10916 Atlantic Blvd. Younus M. Zury is the manager of Ariana Kabob & Grill LLC.

Dining sign

• La Salsa Market, 11761 Beach Blvd., No. 1.

kmathis@baileypub.com

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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