Independent grocery chain spending $2.7 million to renovate supermarket on Blanding Boulevard.
Rob Rowe is reinvesting in one of the first independent grocery stores he opened about 13 years ago.
The city approved a permit for Williams & Rowe Co. Inc. to renovate Rowe’s IGA Supermarkets at 5435 Blanding Blvd. at a cost of $925,050.
Rowe, no relation to the contractor, pegs the total renovation cost at $2.7 million.
New food cases, shelving, refrigerated and frozen sections, paint, flooring, an additional checkout lane, a smokehouse, restrooms and store and administrative offices are part of the renovations.
The store was built in 1978 as Albertsons.
“When it’s done, everything will be replaced,” Rowe said. “It needed it.”
He said the sales floor should be ready in about two weeks.
Rowe opened that 61,855-square-foot store after the 2005 acquisition of seven closed Albertsons stores, selling one site and opening six Rowe’s Supermarkets.
Rowe then kept the Blanding site and sold the other five.
When Food Lion shut down its remaining stores in 2012, Rowe bought some of those.
He now operates six Rowe’s, having considered opening more. “I’m always looking for the right deal,” he said.
Those in operation comprise the Blanding Boulevard store and stores at 6765 Dunn Ave. at New Kings Road; 8595 Beach Boulevard near Southside Boulevard; 8299 W. Beaver St. near Bulls Bay Highway; 1670 Wells Road in Orange Park; and a smaller express store in Baldwin.
He said he has invested in those stores to maintain and refresh them as needed.
Rowe works with the IGA system, a brand for independent grocery chains.
Rowe said the Blanding Boulevard store, like all his stores, focuses on the needs of the neighborhood.
Market competition intensifies as new chains enter the market and those here expand and remodel.
“We focus on what our customers want. As our customers change, we change,” he said.