Q: Do you know what is going on in front of the Hollywood 20 movie theater? I saw a lot of trucks and land cleared out this past week.
— Andrew Dick, North Naples
Q: What’s going on along Naples Boulevard south of Costco?
— J. Jaross, North Naples
Q: What is being built across from Costco?
— Bev, North Naples
A: Expect a GFS Marketplace store to open later this year at 5960 Naples Blvd. in North Naples.
GFS Marketplace retail stores, operated by Michigan-based Gordon Food Service, sell and deliver restaurant products at wholesale prices. Unlike bulk food competitors, though, such as Sam’s Club and Costco — which operates a Naples location across the street from the future store — GFS does not require a membership fee.
A construction fence has been erected and land has been cleared to build the 14,000-square-foot, freestanding store on the south side of Naples Boulevard adjacent to the Hollywood 20 parking lot.
“We have broken ground. We are pouring footers on the site, so construction has begun there,” said GFS Marketplace spokesman Mark Dempsey, who anticipates the new store opening in early fall.
“I don’t have a firm opening date,” Dempsey said.
Gordon Foods has a ground lease for less than one-third of the more than 6 acres being cleared, but infrastructure and utilities are being put in place for future development. Expect retailers to eventually develop two or three more out-parcels on adjoining land also owned by Shelbourne Towers, a limited partnership based in New York.
“There is considerable activity dominated by national retailers resurrecting their interest in coming to this market,” said David Stevens, a principal with Naples-based Investment Properties Corp., representing the landowner.
The GFS store will provide food service needs to local businesses such as restaurants and caterers, as well as serve private consumers, fundraising groups and churches, Dempsey said.
“Our store has approximately 3,500 items in stock every day,” he said. “We carry most items that most food service businesses need to operate.”
GFS mostly has restaurant-quality food products in large package sizes, but it does sell disposable containers and paper products, chef and dining supplies and cleaning supplies. GFS does not carry items such as electronics, cosmetics, and sporting goods that other wholesale clubs sell.
“This store will be the latest and greatest of our store design and amenities,” Dempsey said about the Naples location. “At this point, we are still planning the specifics of the store. This will be a similar store to other stores we have in Florida.”
GFS entered the Florida market 10 years ago and has distribution center warehouses in Plant City and Miami. Including its 18 locations in Florida, the company has more than 150 stores in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Tennessee. The nearest GFS store opened a few years ago off Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.
The Naples store will be open every day of the week and bring about 35 permanent jobs to the area, Dempsey said. For more information, go to gfscomingsoon.com.
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"In the Know" is published Mondays and Wednesdays in the Naples Daily News. Find a complete archive of "In the Know" columns at naplesnews.com/intheknow.