The History of the Publix Chain of Stores



If you are not Floridian, you may be surprised to hear that among the other things, they are proud of their Publix stores. Locals that decide to move to another state cannot simply get over the loss of their favorite supermarket chain. Such loyalty is not something uncommon because many generations used to do shopping at Publix, and their kids inherited this habit from parents and grandparents. If you want to understand the reasons for such a devotion – just read the history of the Publix chain and everything will become clear.

Brief History of Publix

Nowadays, Publix has integrated all the modern features of doing business: user-friendly website, available delivery service, attractive offers and sales, digital leaflets, etc. Today, you can browse a Publix weekly flyer on Rabato even without leaving your home, but you may not even wonder that Publix is already 90 years old!

Unlike other popular retailers, this supermarket chain doesn’t have the name of its founder. In 1930, George Jenkins, the former manager of Piggly Wiggly, opened a brand-new grocery store called Publix. Five years after a successful launch and business optimization, he took the first attempts to build his own retail chain by opening the second location in Winter Haven. In November 1940, he closed his two small-sized grocery stores to open his first supermarket, which was his sacred dream. This is how everything began. Below you will find some other curious facts that brought Publix such popularity.

1) Weighing-machine

Do you remember that large weighing-machine at the front of every Publix store? In fact, this is another great story about why elder people love Publix. After the launch of his first supermarket in 1940, Jenkins introduced many modern features including bright signs, automatic doors, and a weighting-machine at the entrance.

This was a great trick because a few families had scales at their homes, so Jenkins decided to place some free weighting-machines outside the stores. Big hype over this novelty brought many customers to the store, and even today you can see many people stepping on the weighting-machine when leaving the supermarket.

2) Publix Fried Chicken

Can you imagine Publix without its famous fried chicken? Those people who appreciate traditions will 100% love it. The Publix chicken was introduced in the mid-50s and survived until today with its original recipe. The chicken recipe that we love and buy appeared in the mid-70s, however, some people will say that the recipe was finally introduced in 1992.

Finally, some of the Publix chicken lovers have even started a Twitter account for the clients who want to check the availability of this dish on sale. “Are Publix Chicken Tender Subs On Sale?” Twitter account has already got 37,4 thousand subscribers!

3) Pub Subs

Pub Subs is another great thing why people love Publix. Since 1992, citizens of the Southern State have enjoyed Publix-made sandwiches, so now everyone can name at least one that he/she likes most. Moreover, the customers can order a sandwich according to their own preferences on a multi-grain, white, or whole wheat bun. This innovation was first introduced in Atlanta.

4) Free Cookies

Did you know that every child at Publix can ask for a free cookie? Well, every kid can simply do it in the Bakery section. There is no common idea when this tradition started, while some elder people say that it took place after the launch of Publix’s first bakery in 1957. At that time, Publix bakeries had a separate building until they moved inside the supermarket.

5) Generic Brand

If you regularly do shopping at Publix, you cannot ignore its own generic products. Drinks, sauces, dairy products, sweets, snacks, seasonal novelties, and many other goods are available under the Publix brand at an affordable price. Remember that by buying generic brand goods, you don’t overpay for transportation and don’t pay the manufacturer margin. This is what makes the price difference between brands, but not the quality.

Past and Future

Mr. Jenkins brought many innovations to his business until he passed away at the age of 88 in 1996. After his death, the New York Times released an article describing the story of Mr. Jenkins to make his dream come true. It was noted that this man made a huge contribution to the development of the grocery business, as well as the development of local communities.

Nowadays, Publix chain operates in seven states: Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina. There are about 1,200 stores around these states and millions of devoted customers that love Publix.

Are you among the Publix fans? Share your own stories and memories with us in the comments.

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