The new occupants of the former Penn Dutch Meat and Seafood in Margate might look familiar to former customers of the iconic retailer.
Broward Meat and Fish Co., whose owners considered Penn Dutch their closest competitor, bought the site for $11.9 million.
Like Penn Dutch, Broward Meat and Fish offers a wide variety of meats and seafood sliced and packaged on-site and sold at discount prices. The chain, which has locations in Pembroke Pines, Lauderdale Lakes and North Lauderdale, also offers a variety of imported packaged brands popular among Caribbean and Latin American consumers in Broward County.
Hot items available for takeout typically include tamales, empanadas, chicharron, jerk pork, sausage and peppers, rice and beans, prime rib, and fried fish and chicken.
Shoppers will have to wait some time before the doors of the new Margate store open, however. A complete rebuild of the store’s interior will take at least 10 months and possibly up to a year, said Athalia Lujo, daughter of owners Ruben and Denise Lujo and the company’s general counsel.
Penn Dutch folded in September 2019 after state health inspectors discovered listeria contamination at its Margate and Hollywood sites. Almost all of the Margate store’s fixtures and fittings were sold during the ensuing disbandment process, Lujo said.
“It’s basically an empty shell,” she said. “Apart from the cold rooms, there is no equipment.”
Starting from scratch, the new owners plan to convert much of Penn Dutch’s former production space into additional retail space, doubling the amount of space allocated to shoppers while leaving room for packaging. on-site meat and seafood sold on-site, Lujo said.
The additional space will allow for expansion of the store’s inventory of groceries and packaged beverages, as well as more hot food, deli and bakery options.
The company plans to hire around 100 employees starting in the summer. They will be trained at the company’s existing locations before the new store opens, Lujo said.
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The 70,000 square foot location at 3201 N. State Road 7 was available for rent shortly after Penn Dutch closed. In June, representatives from owners Ross Realty Investments and SunCap Real Estate Investments approached the owners of Broward Meat and Fish and urged them to take a look.
“We didn’t have plans for a fourth store, but after seeing the space and the community, we thought this would be a great location to bring one of our stores further north,” Lujo said.
The owners of Broward Meat and Fish knew Penn Dutch well. “We respected [Penn Dutch], because they were kings for a long time,” Ruben Lujo Jr., the owners’ son, said in a comment on the company’s Facebook page in March. “It hurt us to hear this news. [of its closure] too, because we were competitors, not enemies. They were an institution.
After Penn Dutch closed, Broward Meat and Fish saw a modest increase in sales from customers looking for comparable deals, Athalia Lujo said.
While the Lujos could have rented the space, “the store will require such a heavy investment, it was only worth it for Ruben and Denise to own it,” she said, adding that it would cost “well over a million dollars” to get it. shape to open.
The Lujos would become owners of many stores in what is now called “Penn Dutch Plaza”. Ross Realty Investments and SunCap Real Estate Investments will retain ownership of the northern portion of the plaza, which currently houses Florida Career College and a preschool, said Bob Sherman, senior vice president at Ross Realty Investments.
A cost the Lujo family won’t have to bear: eliminating the listeria contamination that shut down Penn Dutch. The interior of the store, including all pipes and drains, was “completely sanitized and re-inspected” before the sale, Sherman said.