What Should Replace Sweetbay on East Lake Road?

Will you be sad to see this grocery store close? What do you think should take its place?

The Sweetbay Supermarket at 3400 E. Lake Road is among 33 under performing stores in Florida scheduled to close in Feburary, the grocer's parent company announced Wednesday.

The story sparked a lot of discussion among Patch readers about what should replace it:

  • "Walmart Neighborhood Market anyone??" Steve Ur suggested.
  • "No thank you!" countered Debbie O'Brien. "Whole Foods or Trader Joe's anyone?" Several other readers also liked the idea of a Trader Joe's coming to East Lake.
  • "Fresh Store would be great also," posted Tracy Talley.

Do you shop at this Sweetbay? Will you be sad to see it go? What do you think should replace it? Post a comment below and join the conversation.

Rita Moran January 21, 2013 at 04:45 PM
Hey, I just wrote to the corporate office at Trader Joe's suggesting they look into our location as a possibility. You folks should do the same to either Trader Joe's or Whole Foods or whatever you would like to come in there. At least we have our Five Guys now!
Dad of Three January 21, 2013 at 05:01 PM
I would definitely like to see Trader Joe's nearby, but I also suspect that they will want to locate their first Tampa Bay store in either Clearwater or in Tampa near the airport, so that they could draw from St Pete as well as northern Pinellas. Trader Joe's, which we have missed terribly since moving here a year ago, has some high quality products with low to moderate prices; the downside is that the range of products is rather narrow, but the price-to-value ratio is so good that it is a no-brainer to shop there. For example, excellent cheeses are priced at about 70-80% of Publix prices (which also doesn't have the quality of Trader Joe's cheeses), and about 50-70% (bigger range) of the prices at Whole Foods. Trader Joe's also stands behind their products, and if you try something and don't like it, they will gladly take it back and refund your money; no hassle, no snide remarks. Also, the staff of Trader Joe's are treated well by their employer, and there is a fun atmosphere in the store. So, you combine good quality, and great value, and no hassle, and a cheerful shopping experience, and you see why people that used to shop there regularly, before they moved to Tampa Bay, miss therm terribly.
Rita Moran January 21, 2013 at 05:47 PM
Yes, Dad of Three, I neglected to mention their excellent customer service and their amazing return policy! I would still write to them. It can't hurt!
Mona Chiles January 21, 2013 at 06:44 PM
I've been writing whole foods about that location for years it would be amazing to have one right here. Either store would hurt Palm Harbor Health Foods business though.
Mark Isenberg February 05, 2013 at 07:16 PM
There is a Fresh Market store on Hwy 19 Clearwater not that far away with many of the specialty items you may like. Retailers like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods will consider almost any metro area if they think their upscale products will be supported. Sweetbay got caught just like Winn Dixie once did in expanding fast with not very competitive pricing. Publix does need some competititon here in the Clearwater-Tampa region but they are making an effort now to do better with Buy One Get One specials,etc. Sweetbay also suffers from not only bad tv spots but the Belgium ownership which allowed some not so bright folks in Salisbury,NC HQ for Food Lion to make bad decisions even when Sweetbay has a local Tampa office.


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