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Publix: Doing right and doing well

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When it comes to Publix Super Markets, Inc. BB #:110909 Lakeland, FL, serving its surrounding communities, this includes each store’s workforce.

“Publix has a really good relationship with its own employees,” says Santa Monica, CA-based Phil Lempert, also known as the Supermarket Guru, which in turn helps the retailer build relationships with customers. “The company is very consumer- and shopper-centric, and the store experience is exceptional—which drills down to employees.”

“Publix’s employee-owned model is a major differentiator that builds both employee and customer loyalty,” agrees Carol Spieckerman, president of Spieckerman Retail in Bentonville, AR.

“Publix’s well-earned reputation for customer service takes loyalty to the next level. In a world of corporate grocery behemoths, Publix stands apart as an employee-centered alternative.”

It might surprise many that Publix is the largest employee-owned company in the United States.

Once any of its 230,000 employees have worked 1,000 hours in a year, they’re automatically awarded free shares of stock. They also have 401(k) accounts and the option to purchase more stock.

Being owned by its employees tends to promote good customer service, observers say, and encourages workers to stay with the company, allowing them to develop personal relationships with shoppers.

Publix is also recognized for community outreach, with programs promoting sustainability, especially water stewardship, as well as planting trees.

The retailer’s collaboration with the Arbor Day Foundation, for example, is in its sixth year and has helped plant 605,000 native longleaf pine trees on 870 acres of Little Orange Creek Preserve and Withlacoochee State Forest. The effort is funded by sales of Publix-branded reusable bags.

Combatting hunger is another initiative. During the pandemic, Publix’s Feeding More Together program purchased millions of pounds of produce for Feeding America food banks in its trading area.

This helped not only alleviate hunger, but also prevented the dumping of unsold fresh foods at the start of the Covid shutdowns.

Publix has been working with Feeding America since 2009, donating more than $2 billion in food over that time and pledging another $2 billion-plus in food donations over the next 10 years.

The company’s associates and customers also teamed up to donate more than $1.1 million for Ukraine humanitarian aid efforts through a 10-day point-of-sale campaign in 2022, in partnership with the Red Cross.

This is an excerpt from the Florida Supplement in the September/October 2022 issue of Produce Blueprints Magazine. Click here to read the whole supplement.