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Paperwork paves way for Trader Joe's in South Tampa

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Published:   |   Updated: July 16, 2013 at 05:42 PM

TAMPA - For those waiting with bated breath for Trader Joe's in Tampa, there's good news. The quirky, California-based grocer has unveiled plans - partly - for its first store in the region at 3808 W. Swann Ave. in South Tampa.

There's no official statement from the company, or a formal opening date. Rather, the details come by way of a procedural filing made by lawyers for developers building the site regarding signs.

Existing city codes allow for a certain total square footage for signs, and lawyers have asked for tweaks to that rule allowing for signs on all four sides of the building, which they say is necessary because the site is on Swann Avenue - an existing Shapes gym that would be knocked down - and they could not acquire the site next door that directly faces the relatively higher-traffic Dale Mabry Highway.

A hearing date is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 13 at City Hall.

This kind of near obsessive anticipation to opening a store is typical for a Trader Joe's. Though roughly the same size as a CVS store, at 12,301 square feet, the grocer attracts an outsized following among customers by selling a range of gourmet, organic, vegetarian, imported and uncommon foods, with many of them sold under its own brand name.

"In some markets," the company's filings state, "Trader Joe's is viewed as a 'destination' retail store and it is expected that Trader Joe's will attract customers who are not familiar with the South Tampa area."

Trader Joe's had 398 stores as of May 2013, according to filings with the city. It opened one store last year in Sarasota and has others in the works across Florida.

rmullins@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7919 Twitter: @DailyDeadline

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