Publix bills itself as the place “where shopping is a pleasure.” The Southeastern grocery chain certainly lives up to that promise with free carryout service to take your groceries to your car; a select roster of free prescription medications; and so much more.
The store is routinely at the top or near the top in a wide range of customer satisfaction surveys, including the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Market Force’s annual customer survey and Consumer Reports’ own investigations into the grocery field.
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Read on for some well-known and some obscure facts about the beloved supermarket.
1. Publix is the world’s largest employee-owned company
Founded in 1930 in Winter Haven, Fla., Publix has grown to be the largest employee-owned company in the world. Today the company boasts more than 175,000 employees with more than 1,100 locations across six states.
In an industry where layoffs are common, Fortune magazine recently reported that the company has not had to lay off a single employee in the 86 years since it was founded!
2. Employees of the company receive stock regularly
One of the nice perks of working at Publix is that employees get handed free company stock pretty soon after coming on board.
Once you’ve been there for a year and you’ve worked 1,000 hours, you’re given company stock equal to roughly 8% to 12% of your annual compensation for free! You also have the option to buy additional shares via a payroll deduction.
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Shares of Publix stock are not traded publicly, but the company estimated earlier this month that each share is worth $40.15 and it pays a quarterly dividend of roughly 22 cents per share.
3. The store arguably has some of the happiest employees in retail
Technically, there are no employees at Publix; there are only “associates.” That label coupled with co-ownership in the company goes a long way to making employees happy.
So happy, in fact, that Philadelphia Eagles fans aren’t the only ones who bleed green! According to Fortune, the phrase “bleeding green” is Publix speak for the loyalty its associates feel toward the company.
That happiness manifests itself in Publix’s tiny 5% employee churn rate (in other words, a measurement of how many people leave the company) while the retail average is around 65%.
4. Raises come early and often at Publix
If you work at Publix, there’s no shortage of feedback from your manager. New hires have 30-day, 60-day and 90-day check-ins to make sure everything is up to speed.
And get this: Associates are eligible for their first raise after six months. Then from there, salary increases come every additional six months!
5. The new CEO started out as a bagger
This month saw a change in leadership at Publix. Todd Jones became CEO on May 1, replacing Ed Crenshaw — a grandson of original Publix founder George Jenkins.
No doubt the new CEO post is a crowning achievement for Jones. He started with the company 36 years ago as a bagger in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. Now he’ll be the first nonfamily member to run the company.
6. Publix has a tuition reimbursement plan
Much like other companies including Starbucks, Chipotle and Chrysler, Publix has a tuition reimbursement program for associates.
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You have to be with the company for six months, work an average of 10 hours a week and get manager approval to qualify. But once you do, Publix will reimburse your tuition for more than a dozen degrees. There’s an annual limit of $3,200 reimbursement per year and a lifetime cap of $12,800 on this offer.
7. The company is not immune to an occasional mystery shopper scam
As the weather cools down, the grocery scams are heating up again! Publix is the latest grocery chain to have its name and image appropriated without its knowledge.
A recent post making the rounds—this one coming from a dubious organization called Product Testing USA—advertised an offer of $100 to become a mystery shopper at Publix.
The only problem is Publix denies anything to do with the offer! “No, it is not Publix, and we are not affiliated with it in anyway at all,” company spokesman Brian West told WTSP.
8. The “Publix Promise” means you could get free stuff
Do you check your Publix receipt before you leave the store? You should, because if you find something rang up at the wrong price, Publix will give you that item for free!
“Our Publix Promise guarantees that if during checkout, the scanned price of an item (excluding alcohol and tobacco products) exceeds the shelf price or advertised price, we will give the customer one of that item free,” the company writes in its customer service FAQs.
If you’re buying more than one of whatever rang up wrong, Publix will charge the lower price for the remaining items. Just ask at the customer service desk.
9. Publix is moving further up north — slowly but surely
Right now, Publix is located in six states in the Southeastern U.S. They include Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina.
North Carolina was a late entry to the Publix stable; the chain only made its way there in 2014.
Next up is an entry into Virginia, with the first store slated to open in the fourth quarter of 2017, and a second location coming in 2018.
So slowly but surely, Publix is creeping its way up north. Could Maryland be next? Will the store ever cross the Mason-Dixon line into Delaware, Pennsylvania or even New Jersey? Stay tuned and we’ll find out!
10. Publix offers free antibiotics and other medications
Here’s one parents can really love: Publix offer free 14-day supplies of common antibiotics with a prescription. These include:
- Ciprofloxacin (excluding Ciprofloxacin XR)
- Penicillin VK
- Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim (SMZ-TMP)
For adults with diabetes or high blood pressure, you can also get a free 90-day supply of metformin, Lisinopril or amlodipine with a prescription.
Free medicine to help you heal and feel your best? Now that really makes shopping a pleasure!