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The Tampa Bay Business Journal reports that Publix has opened its first stand-alone meal assembly store, called Apron’s Make-Ahead Meals, in Lithia, Florida.

According to the story, “The Apron’s customers assemble meals using Publix ingredients and recipes. Customers prepay online for packages costing $59.99, $109.99, $134.99 or $189.99 when they register … to reserve a time and browse menu selections. The Apron’s has meal assembly stations where customers utilize ready-to-cook ingredients. The meals are then packaged and kept refrigerated until the session is complete.”

In addition, the store features a program that allows customers to simply buy preassembled meals without all the trouble of cooking.

KC's View:
I have to admit that I have trouble getting a handle on the meal assembly business. While I tend to think that it sounds like an interesting niche that could work in the right locations and with the right demographic (which I’d guess skews elderly, but who knows?), there are people who tell me that this trend is so last year.