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Business Observer Tuesday, May 6, 2014 8 years ago

Bulk grocer adds heft

New Bulk Nation store in Orlando is first of 75 planned locations over five years.

SARASOTA — Bulk Nation, a specialty grocery store with a product list that ranges from pumpkin spice cappuccino to gluten-free pasta, plans to get bigger in Florida.

The Sarasota-based chain, according to a release, will open a store in Orlando by the end of July. The 4,195-square-foot location will include more than 3,000 specialty foods sold in bulk, much like the other stores in Sarasota and Brandon. Bulk Nation President Clay Donato says the Orlando store will likely hire 10 to 12 people.

The first Bulk Nation store, on U.S. 41 in Sarasota, opened in 2012. The company says the Orlando store opening is part of a plan to add a dozen locations over the next year and 75 franchise locations over the next five years. “We're excited about bringing our concept to the Orlando area and leveraging this exciting and diverse market to catapult our growing brand into other areas across the country,” Donato says in the release.

Donato, a Canadian-born former pro tennis player who was a two-time All-American at the University of North Carolina, runs the business under four investors. He declined to identify the investors in an August 2013 story on the firm.

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