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Kroger offers more details on fulfillment center for grocery deliveries in Jacksonville (Courtesy of the Jacksonville Business Journal) — Kroger Co. has confirmed its entry into the Sunshine State as an e-commerce company — not a traditional grocery store.

The Cincinnati-based grocery giant on Wednesday issued a news release that details its grocery delivery service plans in Florida.

Kroger is setting up a hub-and-spoke distribution model in Florida; the hub is a 375,000-square-foot robot-run warehouse in Groveland, near Orlando. Two spokes are confirmed: one in Tampa and another in Jacksonville.

The Tampa facility is at 1820 Massaro Blvd. and encompasses 41,000 square feet, a Kroger spokeswoman told the Tampa Bay Business Journal. It will employ 180 people.

“We’re proud to launch Kroger Delivery in Florida, a new geography for Kroger and a milestone moment in our history to further build on our success as one of America’s leading retailers and e-commerce companies,” Gabriel Arreaga, Kroger’s chief supply chain officer, said in a statement.

The Tampa spoke is already open and delivering groceries. The Business Journal first reported Kroger’s presence in the market on May 22 when the grocer made a splashy debut at Tampa Pride.

“We are pleased Kroger selected the Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County regions to expand the company’s e-commerce reach in the State of Florida,” Pat Kemp, chairwoman of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, said in a statement. “Kroger will be an integral part of our community as they expand and grow here. We look forward to providing them the partnership and supportive environment needed to develop a talented workforce and successful business operations.”

Kroger is long said to have avoided Florida because of the grip Publix Super Markets Inc. has on its home state. Lakeland-based Publix does compete with Kroger in metro Atlanta and the Carolinas, but Publix has a cult following in its home state.

Publix offers curbside pickup and grocery delivery services, and the majority of its online orders are fulfilled by Instacart, a third-party shopping app. Kroger’s orders are fulfilled and distributed by Kroger employees, while many Instacart orders are handled by independent contractors. (Some stores use Instacart’s software but orders are fulfilled by in-house employees.)

Kroger touts its service as an “innovative, customer-centric offering” delivered by “professionally trained and friendly Kroger delivery associates.”

“Kroger is uniquely positioned to transform grocery e-commerce in Florida because of our differentiated offering that brings high-quality fresh groceries directly to our customers’ doorstep. The service features fresh food, adult beverage, and personal care products, affordable prices and promotions, and a best-in-class fuel rewards loyalty program,” Bill Bennett, Kroger’s vice president of e-commerce, said in a statement.

Photo courtesy of Kroger Co.