Despite recent torrential downpours that left a portion of its parking lot inundated with rainwater, Gainesville’s newest grocery store will open as planned this week.
The newly renovated Publix at Westgate Shopping Center, 3315 W. University Ave., is scheduled to welcome shoppers for the first time at 7 a.m. on Thursday, according to sandwich boards outside the store Monday and mailers recently sent to area residents.
As of noon on Monday, 2.31 inches of rain fell within the last 24 hours, according to weather recorded at the Gainesville Regional Airport and reported to the National Weather Service. But 3.6 inches of rain fell within the 32607 area code, where the Westgate Publix is located, during that same timeframe, according to The Weather Channel and other weather sources consulted and compiled by Apple’s weather app.
A 24-hour plumbing service tanker was spotted pulling out of the Westgate Shopping Center parking lot at approximately 10:30 a.m. Monday. Vehicles slowly navigated through inches of rainwater in the northwest section of the lot, where most of the water had pooled.
The new store will be 48,500 square feet, Public Community Relations Manager Chris Norberg told Mainstreet in April 2021, days before the store’s 63,000-square-foot predecessor closed for renovation. While the previous front façade faced 34th Street, the new primary entrance looks out onto University Avenue.
The store includes a pharmacy, according to the mailers. They feature $5-off coupons for select purchases of $30 or more.
In addition to the grocery store, the 5.53-acre parcel hosts other new storefronts that are currently unoccupied as well as a Checkers restaurant that remains open for business.
Customers planning to celebrate the Westgate Publix’s grand opening in person should consider bringing along a rain jacket: The National Weather Service on Monday predicted a continuation of rainy weather throughout the week with Thursday’s forecast featuring a slight chance of showers in the morning and a 70% chance of rain throughout the day.
Publix did not respond to requests for comment.
The Publix at Westgate Shopping Center general store hours will be 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The pharmacy will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Call 352-372-4276 for general store information and 352-565-6011 for the pharmacy. Visit publix.com/locations/1784-westgate-shopping-center for additional information.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include the store’s hours of operation.