Established in 1930, Florida's beloved supermarket, Publix, turns 90 this week
LAKELAND, Fla. - Publix, a grocery store admired among Floridians and based out of Lakeland, has officially been around for 90 years.
The store's green lettering is a welcoming sight in any Florida neighborhood, and its quality customer service has been built into a Floridian's expectations of the supermarket for decades now.
The Publix sub itself has even been deemed the unofficial state sandwich -- but let's not forget their fresh chocolate chip cookies and creative cakes. Their BOGO deals are not to be ignored, either, and we all know it's not the holidays without those Publix commercials.
Originally called, "Publix Food Store," its founder, George W. Jenkins, opened the first store in Winter Haven on Sept. 6, 1930. Today, there are more than 1,100 locations in and outside of Florida.
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Jenkins wasn't born in Florida. He grew up in Harris, Georgia. There, he started gaining store-management experience early on while working in his father's general store.
Images of George W. Jenkins
By 1925, a 17-year-old Jenkins headed to Tampa as Florida was experiencing a real-estate boom. The teen became a stock clerk in a Piggly Wiggly grocery store.
After two months, he was promoted to a management position, and was transferred to the chain's largest store in Winter Haven. After four years, he quit to open his own grocery store, "Publix Food Store."
Five years later, he opened a second location, also in Winter Haven. However, he eventually closed the first two stores to open, "Publix Super Market," on Nov. 8, 1940.
The newest store had some upgrades, such as air conditioning -- much-needed in the Sunshine State -- and fluorescent lighting. The updated store was the first of many supermarkets Floridians would continue to appreciate for years.
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In 1945, Jenkins acquired 19 "All American" stores from the Lakeland Grocery Company, and turned them all into Publix supermarkets. The store's growth didn't stop there.
Whether a Publix customer walks in for their weekly grocery-store run or to grab a Pub Sub, they know the supermarket's high expectations and quality haven't aged a day.
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