Happy Birthday “Mr. George”

Publix founder George Jenkiins holding a to-scale model of his first Publix store.

A scale replica of the first store in 1930 brings back fond memories to Mr George Jenkins. It was presented to him at the ceremonies opening his 100th Publix in Winter Haven, Fl, March 3, 1964.

107 years ago today, George Jenkins, the founder of our company was born.  His story is a remarkable one, and his early years were wrought with struggles.  Like the “rags-to-riches” narrative of his favorite Horatio Alger novels, he faced these challenges head on, with hard work and integrity, and rose above to enjoy success managing the flagship grocery store in a highly successful chain by the time he was 22 years of age.

That well-known grocery chain had recently undergone a change in ownership. Filled with a desire to improve upon that company’s operating model, George traveled more than 400 miles to the owner’s office.  Instead of being greeted with interest and appreciation for his successful management of the flagship store, and the insight he wanted to share, George was not even granted a meeting with the new owner.  Fuming, he drove back to Winter Haven, quit his job and, with his own meager savings and investment from a few other individuals, George Jenkins launched his own grocery store.

Cut to today, some 84 years later.  The little grocery store he founded is now the largest employee-owned company in the nation! Publix is deeply ingrained in the fabric of southern society and through Publix, our founder has touched the lives of tens of millions of people including:

  • Floridians and Southeasterners who find Publix their preferred grocery store “where shopping is a pleasure.”
  • Associates, former associates and the family members of those who  have enjoyed a career with Publix, perennially named to FORTUNE magazine’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” since its inception.
  • Product manufacturers who have been challenged to bring their “A Game” when selling to Publix with its dedication to food safety, product innovation, and our environment.
  • Men, women and children who have been helped by the support Publix gives to non-profit organizations within its communities.

It is hard to imagine that one man’s life has touched – and dare we say improved – so many lives, just by starting a small grocery store, but that is the case with “Mr. George.”

So, today, on what would be his 107th Birthday, we celebrate this man.  We honor his deeds.  We unite behind the incredible legacy he has left us all.

Become a Publix “Foodie”

Are you a “foodie” who would like to take your interest to the next level?  Want to build your “hobby” into a career? As the saying goes, “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.” If you’re a foodie anyway, you’re halfway there. 

Think about your last visit to Publix.  Do you remember strolling around the perimeter of the store and seeing the beautifully decorated cakes, crispy loaves of bread, skillfully cut rib eye steaks, mouth watering quinoa salad and handcrafted sandwiches?  This is all produced by our culinary professionals.  The associates in our Bakeries, Meat Departments and Delis all learn how to follow Publix recipes, artfully display products and maintain our sanitation standards. The goal, of course, is to meet and even exceed our customer’s needs.  Gaining their confidence in our quality offerings means customer loyalty and the likelihood we’ll see that customer return to shop at Publix again and again.  And since our associates own the company, that’s important to us.

Doesn’t this sound like a perfect career for you?  All you have to do now is to bring your interest and enthusiasm and apply at Publix for a position within one of our fresh departments.  For the Bakery and Meat Departments, we have trainee positions (Cake Decorator Trainee, Baker Trainee and Meat Cutter Trainee) that you can apply for.  You can also consider applying for the Bakery or Meat/Seafood departments in general so you can experience the environment to see where you would fit best.   Once you are here, I don’t think you will want to leave. What’s more, you’ll have the opportunity to learn, develop and grow a career doing something you love.  

Some associates come to Publix with training and /or experience in these skills, but many come to Publix without these skills. They are all trained and developed into skilled culinary professionals, often finding lifelong career fulfillment in these roles.  At Publix, there is a specific training process designed so the associate can succeed and progress.  Once the skills are mastered, our associates can move up into managing one of these fresh departments, with entry-level managers earning an average of $45,388 per year!  Some culinarians go into store management roles.  This is another great option since Store Managers earn an average $114,859 per year.  Others progress within their specific departments at a regional or corporate level to help develop and improve both products and methods to best serve our customers.  Whichever path they follow, our culinary associates enjoy two things: a passion for food and ownership in Publix. 

The next time you are in a Publix, visit our fresh departments, talk with our culinary professionals and ask them what motivates them in their careers at Publix.  Sure they are enthusiastic to be part-owners of the largest employee-owned company in the nation.  Even more than that, though, I think you will discover that once someone begins at Publix, they want to learn, develop and grow a career here.  By bringing their passion to the position, they find it is not work at all!

Stand out from the rest at your next interview

You’ve submitted an application and been called for an interview… great! This is your chance to shine!  But you’ve got to be ready.  Here are tips to make that happen.

First, conduct research on the organization.  Is it on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list? Go to Glassdoor.com to see what employees say about the organization.  Then visit the organization’s website.  Last, but not least, Google the name of the organization to read any related news articles. This due diligence will not only provide you with the confidence that considering this organization will be worth it, but it also will impress those who interview you by showing you’ve done your homework.

Once you are familiar with the organization, prepare for the interview itself.  This will boost your chances of doing well.  Here are a few guidelines to follow.

BEFORE the Interview, get prepared:

  •      Study the job description closely. 
  •      Be prepared to explain how you meet every one of the required qualifications.
  •      Think of ways to communicate the results you achieved on the job or doing volunteer work.
  •      How will you sell the hiring manager on why you would be a great fit for the organization? 
  •      Rehearse answers to the really tough questions that are likely to come up.
  •      Write down questions of your own to ask. Here are a few suggestions.

DURING the interview, make sure you put your best foot forward:

  •      Dress appropriately, arrive a few minutes early, and turn off your cellphone.
  •      Be friendly, use the interviewer’s name, smile and give a firm handshake.
  •      Convey enthusiasm,  make good eye contact, and be aware of your tone of voice and posture.
  •      If appropriate, present a neatly displayed sample of your work.
  •      Speak clearly and concisely, and use appropriate grammar.
  •      Avoid mentioning personal issues.
  •      Don’t criticize former employers, teachers or co-workers.
  •      Explain why you would be a strong fit for the position and for the organization.
  •      Expect the unexpected, such as oddball interview questions.
  •      Toward the end, ask the questions you prepared ahead of time that haven’t yet been answered, and ask these two other final questions.
  •      Close by assuring the manager of your strong interest in the position and thanking him or her for their time; then ask what the next steps are.  (When will the manager decide whom to hire and how will  you be notified, one way or the other?)
  •      Do NOT close by saying you think you are the perfect fit for the job.  Without knowing who your competition is, you can’t be sure of that and saying so indicates you reach conclusions without knowing all of the facts.

If you follow these steps, you will have given yourself the best shot possible of getting a job offer.