Publix officially celebrated 85 years of serving customers and their local communities on Sunday.
Founded in 1930 by the late George W. Jenkins (Mr. George) in Winter Haven, Florida, Publix has grown from a single store into the largest employee-owned supermarket in the U.S. with more than 1,100 stores across six states.
Mr. George’s dream was to open a store that was different—a store that operated on a set of values that everyone could feel when they walked through the door. Publix refers to these founding values as the Lessons of Mr. George.
In recognition of the Lakeland-based company’s 85th anniversary, Publix included associates, customers and suppliers in celebrations focusing on a different lesson, as defined by the company, each month.
- March: Invest in others—Publix associates build relationships with its customers, suppliers and each other. As a token of appreciation for the supply chain, Publix associates across the company took the time to personally thank their supplier partners. Publix says it couldn’t serve its customers as well without the commitment and support from its suppliers.
- April: Give back—Publix believes that giving of its time, money and resources is not an expense, but rather a responsibility and privilege. As part of “Publix Serves Day,” more than 4,000 Publix associates across six states volunteered their time and supported more than 125 nonprofit organizations within their local communities. Projects included beautification efforts, food pantries, backpack feeding programs, tutoring and reading resources, painting, building and more.
- May: Prepare for opportunity—Publix provides training and development opportunities to help associates grow. The promotion prize patrol was out in full force capturing associate promotions at every level and sharing in the excitement of what lies ahead for these up-and-coming leaders.
- June: Be there—It’s about connecting, listening and learning from each other. It’s more than just a job—it’s a family. During “Be There Day,” company leaders engaged with associates working side by side, learning roles and responsibilities, sharing stories and connecting with each other.
- July: Respect the dignity of the individual—Publix provides a workplace where everyone can feel welcome, secure and valued. Publix President Todd Jones challenged associates to get to know each other. Associates answered a series of questions designed to get associates talking, learning and exchanging ideas. Upon completion of the challenge, associates received coupons redeemable for two free gourmet cupcakes—one for them and one for their new friend.
- August: Treat customers like royalty—Publix says it provides a shopping experience so distinguished from its competitors that customers feel like family. Publix customers were randomly selected and treated like royalty, including providing a Publix gift card, flowers, crowns and tiaras, green carpet and all. In the community, the customer prize patrol surprised customers with random acts of kindness, including visiting a local hospital and showering new moms with baby baskets; attending sporting events and upgrading seats; and randomly handing out thank you notes with Publix gift cards enclosed, just to name a few.
“As we celebrate our 85th anniversary and look to the future, I want to thank our associates, past and present, for their contributions in building a company that is much more than just a supermarket,” said Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw. “And to our loyal customers, it’s been our pleasure to serve you and your families for more than eight decades. We thank you for allowing us into your homes to be a part of all the memorable occasions in your lives.”
Go here to view the company’s 85th anniversary video.