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Miami shoppers check out glamour grocery

November 27, 1998
Web posted at: 12:15 p.m. EST (1715 GMT)
Publix store
The Miami Publix grocery store features a chilled wine chalet and sushi bar

Go on a tour of the store, with CNN's John Zarrella
Windows Media 28K 56K

MIAMI (CNN) -- A new $10 million Publix supermarket on Miami's South Beach is designed to dazzle and wow shoppers with the kind of flashiness that epitomizes the upscale area.

The futuristic glass and aluminum facade makes it clear that Publix is going for a different image than that of an ordinary grocery store.

"People have passed right by here saying, 'Where's the new Publix,' and they would go right by and not realize this is a Publix," said Brian Aten, manager of the new store.

Once they locate the store, shoppers tend to react positively.

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    'A millennium supermarket'

    "As we're getting ready for the millennium, you may as well have a millennium supermarket, so I guess this is it," said Pauline Winnick. "I feel a little bit like the Jetsons."

    Rather than an open-air lot, the store provides a parking garage for its shoppers, complete with a moving sidewalk to convey them from their cars to the doors. Valet parking is also available.

    The supermarket oozes excess on the inside as well. Japanese chefs package lunch specials at a sushi bar. There is also a chilled wine chalet and a gourmet olive bar.

    Moving sidewalks get shoppers from the parking deck to the store  

    "I'm spending quite a bit more money than I would at the old store," said shopper Ana Cowley, even though she came armed with coupons.

    The store is attracting gawkers as well as shoppers. On a recent field trip to the store, elementary school students marveled over the moving sidewalks.

    The most expensive Publix ever built, the store is not meant as a prototype. Publix considers it one-of-a-kind -- just like South Beach.

    Miami Bureau Chief John Zarrella contributed to this report.

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