TAMPA, Fla. - A one-of-a-kind Sam's Club is coming to South Tampa after the company abruptly closed it's store last year. The store will be the first in Sam's Club in the country with scan and go technology, making it so customers can order and pay for items using their smartphone.
After it closed in January last year, Sam's Club converted the South Tampa building into a fulfillment center for samsclub.com orders.
"We made the decision to re-purpose this facility to support the company's growing eCommerce business and quickly fulfill online orders in the region," a Sam's Club spokesperson said in a statement released Thursday.
Members, meanwhile, were forced to commute to the next closest store more than 20 miles away, in Brandon.
Those who maintained their membership can make up for the lost time by placing and paying for their orders on the Sam's Club app and then picking it up in the store; no standing in line or waiting to check out. However, the store's product selection will be limited compared to traditional Sam's Clubs.
Experts expect other stores to follow.
"Tampa is a test market for a lot of things like this because Florida is a really big market and an important national market, but it's really happening everywhere. I think we will see more of this and I think this is something that will be refined," Colliers International Executive Managing Director Ed Miller said.
Miller said businesses are taking advantage of their industrial warehouses and making the retail experience more convenient for the consumer.
"When we leave they just scan her phone and then we are done. Yeah, it's a good thing," customer Robert Floyd said.
The store opens Thursday, Oct. 17.