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Publix, Florida's beloved grocery store, celebrates 90 years of business

Founder George Jenkins opened the first Publix on Sept. 6, 1930, in Winter Haven.
Credit: Publix

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Ninety years ago this week, founder George Jenkins opened the first Publix store in Winter Haven, Florida, named Publix Food Store.

Nine decades later, Publix has more than 1,200 stores across seven states in the South. It also employs more than 220,000 people and is the largest employee-owned company in the U.S.

According to the company, the first Publix store opened on Sept. 6, 1930, in Winter Haven. Then, Jenkins opened a second location across town.

Those first two stores were closed down to make way for Jenkins' "dream store" -- Publix Super Market. That store opened on Nov. 8, 1940, and was called a "food palace." It featured cutting-edge technology and modern decor of the time, including air conditioning, automatic doors, terrazzo floors and fluorescent lighting.

Publix has been beloved over the years because of its emphasis on customer service and cleanliness as well as its employee ownership and benefits programs. For more than 20 years in a row, Publix has made FORTUNE's list of "100 Best Companies to Work For."

Publix is also famous for its deli and bakery products, including the fan-favorite chicken tender sub, cakes with buttercream frosting and sprinkle cookies. There's even a Twitter page -- 35,000 followers-strong -- dedicated to giving updates on when Publix chicken tender subs are on sale.

Last year, the company also launched its own clothing and accessories line for customers to show off their love of Pub Subs, BOGO deals and the iconic "Publix green" color.

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