Q: When will Trader Joe's open in the former Borders bookstore in North Naples? I know they are working in there and have seen the sign “Trader Joe's Opening Soon.” Am anxious to have Trader Joe's here in Florida.
— Ann Boyle, Naples
Q: As a transplanted Californian born and raised on TJ's, looking forward to their opening. I'm a Sarasota resident, but it will be well worth the drive! Any updates on their opening of which you might be aware? Appreciate your time.
— L.L. Woods, Sarasota
A: Although Trader Joe’s originally announced it was opening a local store before the end of this year, it now will be some time early next year before the much-anticipated store opens, according to a spokeswoman for the California-based grocery chain, which has about 360 stores in 31 states.
Work on the company’s first Florida location has been progressing daily for weeks at 10600 U.S. 41 N. in North Naples’ Granada Shoppes, but a specific opening date for the store has not been scheduled, said Alison Mochizuki, director of national publicity for Trader Joe’s.
Trader Joe’s will occupy space previously home to a Borders superstore, but not the entire space of the former bookstore, which closed this spring after operating there for eight years. Trader Joe’s will occupy slightly less than 14,000 square feet of the defunct Borders’ nearly 22,000-square-foot space.
This size is consistent with other Trader Joe’s stores, which usually are only 10,000 square feet to 15,000 square feet, Mochizuki said.
The northernmost strip of that building, which includes the coffee shop area of the former bookstore, remains vacant for a future tenant. A wall now separates that area from the future grocery store.
Stop work orders issued last week by the state because of a workers’ compensation insurance issue delayed work less than half a day on the store, said a project manager for Treasure Island-based H.E. Feldman & Sons, which has a permit for a job valued at $650,000 for interior alterations of the store space.
The Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation ordered H.E. Feldman, The Construction Managers Inc. of Naples, and MDC Construction Inc. of Noblesville, Ind., to “cease all business operations for failure to secure payment of workers’ compensation by failing to obtain coverage that meets the requirements of (Florida Statue) Chapter 440, and the Insurance Code.” The orders were posted last Wednesday and Thursday in the window of the future grocery store.
On-site work resumed after the issue was quickly resolved.
“It set us back three and a half hours,” the project manager said.
Construction will be finished and the store will be handed off to Trader Joe’s in early December, the spokesman said. Of course, Trader Joe’s still will need to decorate, stock and staff the store before it can open for business.
Trader Joe's does not franchise, so the privately held company operates all of its stores, nearly half of which are in California. The company markets itself as the unique, little neighborhood grocer, and does not sell its products online.
Dakota Jewelers no longer
Q: Do you know what happened to the jewelry store that was located in the Kmart and Home Good plaza on 41 in Naples? I left for the summer and came back and it was closed.
— Teresa Girouard, Naples
A: After operating for at least 15 years, Dakota Jewelers closed July 1, when its lease ended at 4321 U.S. 41 N. in Park Shore Plaza, said Francis Phelps and Omer Schwarz, who ran the former jewelry store.
“There’s no longer a Dakota Jewelers,” Phelps said.
Phelps and Schwarz now operate F & Schwarz Jewelry Co. LLC at 5600 U.S. 41 N., Suite 20, in Pine Ridge Plaza, off Trail Boulevard north of Pine Ridge Road and the Beacon Bowl.
A civil suit for contract and indebtedness was filed Sept. 19 in Collier Circuit Court by Centro Heritage Park Shore Shopping Center LLC vs. Dakota Jewelers Inc. and Gold N’ Things Inc. Representatives for neither Brixmor Property Group, the new company name for Centro, nor Dakota Jewelers would directly comment on the litigation.
Brixmor, the company that owns the shopping center, was not given notice that the jewelry store was moving out, said company spokeswoman Carol Merriman,
The former Dakota Jewelers location had been a jewelry store since it was originally Zale’s in 1973, and also was a previous location for Paul J. Schmidt Jewelers before it sat dormant for about eight years, Phelps said.
Local restaurant news
■ Chrissy’s Courthouse Tavern will be the new name for Freddie Rebel’s 2, which also formerly had been Chrissy’s Bianchi’s restaurant in Courthouse Shadows. It’s still in the same local family, of course, and is poised to be the most complete collaboration yet from restaurateurs Chrissy Bianchi-Rabil and Fadi Rabil, the husband-and-wife team who also operate Chrissy’s at Bayfront, Chrissy B’s in Tanglewood Marketplace, and Freddie Rebel’s Sports Bar & Grill in North Naples.
Look for the new tavern’s sign to be going up in the next week, said Fadi Rabil, who fashioned his East Naples place around a new indoor/outdoor bar.
“We completely redesigned it. It’s almost done,” he said. “I think I can open this month or the first week in December.”
Featuring a marriage of Chrissy’s and Freddie’s menus, the tavern will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, Rabil said.
■ Stoney’s Sports Cafe is back. Last Wednesday, Estero saw the return of the longtime Stoney’s Sports Café, a popular hangout for students at Florida Gulf Coast University. That location at 21253 Stoneybrook Golf Blvd., off Corkscrew Road, has come full circle after transitioning from Stoney’s to Johnny Malloy’s Sports Pub to Olympia Grille and Sports Lounge.
■ Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches is finally coming to North Naples in the first week of December, said Nick DeFrancisco, manager of Jimmy John’s Estero store. The store, set to open in the Piper’s Crossing strip center where Airport-Pulling Road meets Immokalee Road, is nearly complete. Hiring will start soon for about 20 employees to staff the first Jimmy John’s franchise in Collier County, DeFrancisco said. Headquartered in Champaign, Ill., Jimmy John’s is a chain of sub shops with home delivery. The company, established nearly 30 years ago, has more than 1,000 stores nationwide, including about 40 in Florida.
■ Menchie's Frozen Yogurt, which originally planned to open its new North Naples location more than two months ago, should be open within the next few weeks at 6355 Naples Blvd., said Elizabeth Berry, a spokeswoman for the fast-growing California-based chain. The store is in the Boulevard Shoppes, the same outbuilding as RedBrick Pizza, across from Hollywood 20.
■ Subway opened another local franchise about three weeks ago in the Collier County’s fourth Walmart Supercenter at 11225 U.S. 41 N., near Immokalee Road. Work began in February to expand the 16-year-old Walmart store from 122,000 square feet to 149,000 square feet, adding a Subway shop and a grocery section with produce, bakery, deli and meat departments. The store’s bakery opened Monday and the deli opens today during the store’s grand reopening this morning.
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