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Publix advertised its new store before opening in June 1980. At the time, the store sold two pints of strawberries for $1.29 and loaves of bread for 49 cents. File photo.
Longboat Key Wednesday, Jun. 5, 2013 2 years ago

Lore: Publix shopped first grocery store to Longboat in 1980

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by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

Remember how long those eight months last year felt when the island was without a supermarket? The crowd burst into applause when Publix opened the doors to its new store in December.

Now, imagine how early life on the island was in the days before it had a supermarket.

Those days came to an end June 4, 1980, when Publix opened its Longboat Key store. Mayor Claire Bell cut the ribbon during a 9 a.m. ceremony; the next week, Eckerd Drug Co. opened at the Bay Isles Shopping Center.

The store’s opening was a big deal for Longboaters because it meant they wouldn’t have to leave the island to do their grocery shopping. The store remained in operation for more than 31 years before Publix tore it down in April 2012 to make room for a bigger supermarket.

+ Snake slithers into Gulfside pool
A resident in the 6000 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive came home to find an unwanted visitor in his pool, according to the June 3, 1999, issue of the Longboat Observer.

The guest was a Burmese python that measured in at nearly 9 feet and apparently escaped from its owner’s home on De Narvaez Drive.

Police captured the snake from the pool and put it in the gear box on the patrol vehicle. The snake’s owner retrieved it later that day.

+ Longboat traffic comes to a stop
This island is so good-looking that it frequently stops traffic.

That must be the explanation for motorists traveling at speeds of less than 25 mph down Gulf of Mexico Drive … right?

During the first week in June 1991, the Key got something to help stop traffic. That’s when contractors installed a traffic light at Gulf of Mexico Drive and Longboat Club Road — the island’s second traffic light.

+ Classic Cops Corner
6/6/83 — 3 p.m. Man reports dead person in Gulf in 1000 block of GMD. Found to be a live snorkler.

 

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