Publix has always felt like home to Category Manager Chris Shaw. He began his Publix career in 1987 as a part-time stock clerk in Boca Raton, Florida. And after a break in service during his first year at the university of Florida, he came back to Publix in Gainesville, Florida. Since then, Chris has worked in several support departments and has purchased everything from canned juices to Publix trucks! But working with wine has really sweetened his passion for Publix.
Chris — who holds a level one sommelier certification — is responsible for sourcing and placing a variety of wines on our shelves at competitive prices. Last year, his team added more than 155 new items to the mix companywide! And that’s no easy feat. Before each item hits our shelves, it goes through a thorough vetting process to make sure it’s the right choice for our customers. Chris and his team study sales data and market trends to better understand which varieties are growing in popularity, and once they narrow down the list, they compare the taste and value of each new item.
“During a recent harvest, my team and I attended what’s called the crush. We were able to be a part of the wine-making process from vine to bottle,” Chris said.
Chris and his team gained knowledge from this experience that’s helped them better understand factors that impact pricing — so we can make sure we’re always getting the best deal. He also conducts research to better understand the shopping habits of our customers, so we merchandise our products in a way that’s more convenient and makes sense to them. He’s discovered many customers now shop by the variety, brand or price, instead of country of origin — so look for this change on the wine aisle later this year.
“Chris worked with the Jacksonville Division to investigate opportunities to improve wine sales around major holidays,” said Vice President of Grocery/Non-Foods Pete Mowitt. “he helped develop a plan to strengthen our sales and will implement it companywide this Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
In addition to his love of the job, Chris is inspired by the Publix culture and the leaders he’s learned from over the years. He finds mentoring new associates rewarding.
“I want to do my part to help Publix grow and succeed, and I believe our associates are the best people to keep our company moving forward,” Chris said.
For his dedication to Publix’s strategy, Chris is recognized as our featured associate for the My Publix, My Part program.