JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Publix is celebrating 93 years of business on Wednesday.
We wanted to tell a story — starting with the first store that ever opened in Winter Haven on Sept. 6, 1930.
The photo timeline below paints a picture of how far Publix has come. (Photo credit & information credit: Publix)
In the midst of the Great Depression, Jenkins walked away from the security of a good job to open the first Publix store, Publix wrote. Gross annual sales in the early years averaged about $100,000, slowly rising to $120,000 by 1934.
While many of his competitors’ store shelves went bare for lack of goods, Jenkins traversed the country seeking products to send back home to stock his stores. In his travels, Jenkins also garnered ideas about how to better the business. Click here to read more.
Jenkins was the first person to introduce people to the big green Toledo Publix scales (known by the store as People Weighers) in 1930.
“Our founder having the vision to be a customer service expert, he thought having scales in the store without having our customers pay for it would be a treat — and it was,” said Dwaine Stevens, who has worked for Publix for around four decades.
Stevens is referring to the decision by Publix in the early years to make the scales free of charge. Many scales in that era required payment because people did not have scales in their own homes.
But you won’t find the scales in Publix stores outside of Florida, except for a few just over the Georgia border. Stores in other southern states where Publix operates don’t install the scales, partly because there are only so many scales left.
The manufacturer, Mettler Toledo, stopped producing them in 2015.
Click here to watch News4JAX reporter and anchor Scott Johnson dive deeper into the history of the scales and what the future could look like.
In 1971, three Jacksonville stores opened on March 30 (Nos. 162 and 163) and another store opened on Oct. 5 (No. 165). In 1974, the Jacksonville distribution center and office opened.
Fun fact: A share of Publix stock, valued at $2.50 in 1958, was worth $44 by 1969. By 1978, Publix was grossing nearly $2 billion annually, with profits of more than $32 million.
Publix turned 50 in 1980 and celebrated by kicking off a decade of technological innovation. In keeping with the company’s penchant for using technology to make shopping more pleasurable, Publix introduced check-out scanning statewide.
Since 1991, Plato the Publixaurus has been the mascot for Publix. Since his debut at a store opening in Savannah, Georgia in 1991 (Publix’s first Georgia store), Plato has made hundreds of appearances at store openings and other Publix events, Publix said.
Our mascot, Plato the Publixaurus, has been having fun since ‘91! He supports health and wellness by encouraging kids to make smart food choices. His favorite color is green, and his favorite fruit is a st-RAWR-berry! Share your Plato memories with us. #RetroPublix pic.twitter.com/jY1U613OP3— Publix (@Publix) July 31, 2022
If you’re from Florida, you know Publix is the best of the best.
Publix has grown from a single shop into a sprawling collection of more than 1,100 supermarkets that brought in $34 billion in 2016. The values and philosophies established by George Jenkins are still in place and serve as the foundation for the mission of being the premier quality food retailer in the world. Click here to read more.
Share your favorite Publix food, item, event, employee, or story from the past below!