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Happy Birthday “Mr. George”

Jennifer B.

Jennifer B.
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.

2 Responses

  1. zubair November 12, 2014 at 8:04 am #

    Happy birthday from my side too mr george.

  2. Charles December 29, 2014 at 10:21 am #

    Never had the pleasure of meeting him. However have heard nothing but accolades from the Associates that did have that opportunity. To bad we humans don’t live forever I would have cherished that meeting. But he lives on forever in the picture hung in every store! When you look into the picture you can imagine what he was like and wonder what he might say.

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