Publix Super Markets, Inc.
Publix Super Markets, Inc. (commonly known as Publix) is an American supermarket chain based in Lakeland, Florida. As of 2012, they plan to erect a new store in the newly developed Gateway Village retail complex on Freedom Drive in Clemson, South Carolina, with residential apartment blocks in that area being vacated as early as March 2012. Stores already operate regionally in Anderson, Easley, Greenville and Greer, South Carolina. Opening is projected for spring 2013.
Founded in 1930 by George W. Jenkins, it is an employee-owned, privately held corporation. Publix is currently ranked No. 67 on Fortune magazine's list of 100 Best Companies to Work For 2011 and was ranked No. 6 on Forbes' 2011 list of America's Largest Private Companies and is the largest in Florida. The company's 2009 sales totaled US$24.3 billion, with profits of over $1.2 billion, ranking #99 on Fortune magazine's Fortune 500 list of U.S. companies for 2010. Supermarket News ranked Publix No. 7 in the 2009 "Top 75 North American Food Retailers" based on 2008 fiscal year sales. Based on 2011 revenue, Publix is the fourteenth-largest US retailer. Publix's current stock price is $22.40 per share though it is privately held and not available to the public. Publix has operations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. It employs over 140,000 people at its 1,086 retail locations, cooking schools, corporate offices, eight grocery distribution centers, and nine Publix brand manufacturing facilities. The manufacturing facilities produce its dairy, deli, bakery, and other food products.
Publix stands as one of the largest US regional grocery chains, only one of a handful of chains operating over 1,000 locations. Its main competitors are national grocery chains IGA, Kroger, SuperValu, and Whole Foods; consolidated retail and warehouse chains, including Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Costco, Sam's Club and BJ's Wholesale Club; and several regional grocery chains, including BI-LO, Fresh Market, Piggly Wiggly, Sweetbay, Winn-Dixie, and Ingles. Publix's slogan is "Where Shopping is a Pleasure".
George Jenkins opened the first Publix market in Winter Haven, Florida, on April 19, 1930. In 1934, that store made $120,000 in sales. In 1935, he opened a second market, the Economy Food Store, also in Winter Haven. Despite the Great Depression, his stores were financially successful.
In 1940, Jenkins, affectionately called Mr. George by his employees, mortgaged an orange grove to build Florida's first supermarket. His "food palace" had piped-in music, air conditioning, cold cases for frozen and refrigerated items, in-store donut and flower shops, and electric-eye automatic doors. During World War II, material shortages prevented him from building additional stores. In 1945, Jenkins purchased the 19-store All American chain of food stores and converted them into Publix Super Markets. In 1951, Publix moved its headquarters from Winter Haven to Lakeland, Florida, and built its first distribution warehouse there. At the same time, they began to close the All American stores, replacing them with Publix markets. In 1956, Publix achieved $50 million in sales, and $1 million in profit. In 1957, the donut shop in each store was expanded into a full-service bakery. By 1959, Publix was the dominant supermarket chain in central Florida, and began expansion to southeast Florida. In 1963, the company built a distribution center in Miami, and began providing deli services. In 1970, sales surpassed $500 million; they reached $1 billion in 1974, when the chain expanded to include Jacksonville, Florida.
In 1982, the company launched the Presto! ATM network; it soon installed ATMs in every Publix. Sales exceeded $5 billion in 1989. The first Publix outside Florida opened in Savannah, Georgia, in 1991; distribution and manufacturing facilities in Lawrenceville, Georgia, soon followed. Publix further expanded into South Carolina (1993), Alabama (1996), and Tennessee (2002).
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