By Marie Gilmore

Construction has started, ground breaking commenced, signs are going up, zoning hearings are scheduled, several new brand names are now open and/or entering the Brandon market in the coming months and while some are highly anticipated, others are drawing concern. Two large gas station/convenience store chains are entering the market including the high-end sandwich and coffee convenience store Wawa, and another travel center, Thorntons.

Wawa has purchased or is under negotiation to purchase property but has yet to break ground while Thorntons has at least two locations currently under construction including Bloomingdale Ave. and U.S. Hwy 301 in Riverview and the corner of Lithia Pinecrest Rd. and S.R. 60 in Brandon.

Save-A-Lot has also announced its new location in Brandon off of Kingsway and Windhorst Rds. in a former Albertson’s that has remained vacant for years.

First Watch, The Daytime Cafe, opens for breakfast, lunch and brunch and will enter the market with its first area location this fall in the former Blinds to Go building on Causeway Blvd.  In Winthrop area on Bloomingdale Ave., The Egg & I is under construction which will also offer a breakfast, brunch and lunch option.

In addition to new restaurants for breakfast and lunch, Papa Murphy’s Take and Bake pizza recently opened its first of a planned four-location expansion in the Brandon area. The first location is now open right on Lithia Pinecrest Rd. behind the Kauffman Tires.

And, Bass Pro Shops has yet to announce official plans for its area location at Causeway Blvd. and Falkenburg Rd. due to potentially heated county incentives of more than $8 million in taxpayer dollars for road improvements, but is said to be interested and looking.

Wawa operates a chain of over 570 convenience stores in a five-state area, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Visit

Thorntons Inc. is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, and has over 160 locations and ranks as one of Kentucky’s largest privately held company with over $2.3 billion in annual revenue. www.thorntonsinc.

Save-A-Lot, discount grocery retailer, will hire 20-25 people and will open in the plaza with The Clubhouse Sports Café, along with Kingsway Animal Clinic. Visit

First Watch is celebrating its 30th year and has more than 100 restaurants in 15 states. Visit


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Marie is the Managing Editor at the Osprey Observer. She covers news, transportation, education and likes to make a positive impact on the community and be 'in the know'!