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Austin grocer moving into Highland Park Village

It’s official. For months, we’ve been hearing that Austin’s Royal Blue Grocery was a likely candidate to replace the Tom Thumb that closed last year in Highland Park Village.

Highland Park Village co-owner Ray Washburne confirmed that the Dallas store is scheduled to open July 1 in the former Skillern’s Drugstore space. (The drugstore hasn’t been there for years. The space was most recently occupied by Number One and a pop-up shop from Gwyneth Paltrow.)

The building facing Preston Road is an easier location for shoppers to pull in for a quick stop, Washburne said.

“We wanted a store that would carry the things the neighborhood needs in between their big shopping visits to Central Market or Whole foods, like toothpaste and toilet paper,” he said.

That’s why HPV opted for Royal Blue Grocery versus specialty food retailer Dean and DeLuca. Washburne confirmed that the shopping center had considered the Dean and DeLuca, which also had been rumored.

At 5,500 square feet, Royal Blue Grocery will be much smaller than the former Tom Thumb, but looking at its Austin stores, the shelves and coolers will be stocked with essential groceries and prepared foods.

Co-owners George Scariano and Craig Staley operate five Royal Blue Grocery locations in Austin. They describe their stores as “compact urban markets” and say each store is tailored to the neighborhood. In Austin, store hours are 7 a.m. to midnight. The Austin stores also do catering.

The 18,600 square feet vacated by Tom Thumb is being subdivided into seven shops, but Washburne said he isn’t ready to disclose the tenants yet.