Throughout the year, we’ve talked about the meaning behind the Publix mission and examples of how we live our mission today. And this month, we’re proud to share stories that embody our mission and commitment to Mr. George’s lessons.
Stories like these make us proud to be Publix associates, and they also remind us how much of an impact we can have on each other and our customers and communities. From our company leaders connecting with associates to associates helping communities in times of need, our associates make this company so special. And that’s why Mr. George knew that being committed to the dignity, value and employment security of our associates was a crucial part of Publix’s mission and success.
Be There Day
Mr. George set the example of connecting, listening and learning — being there — for associates. To support that philosophy, leaders were partnered with retail and support associates on Be There Day to learn not only how to do a job, but to make connections. Here are just a few of the many leaders who had an opportunity to create a memorable experience with customers and associates.
Vice President of Marketing Mark Irby visited #1520 and #1466, Cary, North Carolina, to bag and carry out groceries.
“I was surprised how far some customers were driving to shop our stores in this area. That’s a real testament to our associates in these stores — they make sure Publix is worth the trip! It’s great that we set aside a day specifically to celebrate this lesson from Mr. George. I wouldn’t miss it,” Mark said.
Director of Corporate Quality Assurance Michael Roberson worked as a produce clerk at #557, Lake Wales, Florida, where he sorted produce, set shelves, cut fresh fruit and made produce specialty items.
“Typically when I visit stores, I’m looking for improvement areas in food safety and quality standards,” said Michael. “This gave me the opportunity to work alongside some amazing associates, to receive their direct feedback for process improvements and to see firsthand why our customers love Publix! I’m not sure there are many other companies encouraging leaders to get out from behind their desks and spend time in stores, distribution centers and manufacturing facilities.”
Director of Employment Law Melanie Bonanno decorated cupcakes and assembled salad kits, yogurt parfaits and other prepared items at #890, Riverview, Florida.
“I appreciated the opportunity to gain a better understanding of what our retail associates experience and how rewarding it can be to assist our customers,” Melanie said. “It made me proud to be a part of the Publix team!”
Director of Retail Associate Relations Marcy Benton spent her day at #671, Lakeland, Florida, as both a cashier and grocery clerk.
“It’s nice to hear how being a part of the Publix family has impacted associates and their families,” Marcy said. “I also enjoyed seeing how the service our associates provide makes a difference in our customers’ shopping experience. The associates at store #671 knew many of the customers and their children by name. Mr. George would have been proud to see customers are still treated like royalty.”
District Manager Felix Allen participated in a distribution center visit, learning what each associate does.
“I feel this is a fantastic idea, and I learned a lot,” said Felix. “Our distribution associates are committed to the success of our stores and work endlessly to accommodate all of our needs. It was surprising how everyone was excited to see me, and it made me feel good inside knowing the Publix family spirit is alive and well.”
Executive Vice President & CFO David Phillips worked in the pharmacy at #1399, Bartow, Florida.
“I learned the extent to which pharmacists must have their head in the game at all times. I enjoyed getting to know Pharmacy Manager Amy Green. Amy is responsible for the accuracy of everything that goes on in the pharmacy, all while handling several patient care issues,” said David. “Mr. George would be proud of her great customer service and the personal relationships she has with her customers.”
Weathering the storm
The team at #1427, Tallahassee, Florida, dedicated themselves to helping during Hurricane Hermine. They showed Publix is more than a supermarket by serving the community during stressful conditions.
Nearly every associate worked during the week leading up to and following the hurricane.
Even though most struggled with their own power loss and property damage, the team greeted customers with smiling faces and caring hearts.
“Because of my team’s efforts, our community had a place to not only buy ice, water, batteries and restock their fridges, they also had a safe haven, a place with power, water and fresh hot coffee,” said Customer Service Staff Melissa Gonzalez. “Nearly all associates at the store picked up extra shifts or worked extra hours to make sure our customers were served.”
Meeting community needs
On Oct. 8, after Hurricane Matthew passed through, managers from several stores safely navigated road hazards and debris to ensure #1205, Bluffton, South Carolina, could open for customers. The county imposed a 7 p.m. curfew, so associates closed the store at 5 p.m. After the customers left, the National Guard stopped at the store, looking for supplies. The managers stayed to assist before getting home by curfew.
“The National Guard shopped all of our stores over the next week while helping in the area,” said Store Manager Brian Goldstein. “I’m very proud to work for a company that has put together teams such as this one.”
Mr. George Day
Associates found creative ways to recognize Mr. George’s birthday Sept. 29. At #770, Champions Gate, Florida, Meat Cutter Kevin Dixon displayed a poster in the breakroom to remind associates of Mr. George’s core values and how important they are to our company’s success.
“I wanted them to know that without those values, we wouldn’t have the privilege of working for this wonderful company,” said Kevin. “It’s such a blessing for me and my family to be a part of the Publix team. It’s really more of an extended family, and I love it.”
50 years — what a milestone!
Associates at #125, Gainesville, Florida, came together to celebrate the store’s 50th anniversary on July 26.
The event included presentations, demonstrations, giveaways, cake and historical displays.
Wyman Smith, the store’s first store manager, joined current Store Manager Ryan Holland and other former and current managers on a trip down memory lane.
Wyman, who retired in 1995 with 45 years of service, came back to work for Publix at #1022, Jacksonville, Florida, five years ago.
“Wyman continues to perpetuate the Publix culture through his day-to-day interactions with customers and associates. He also attends meetings in different areas to communicate the opportunities Publix offers,” Ryan said.
Congratulations Store #125
Celebrate 50 years of serving customers with store #125 by tuning in to Publix News Live.
A little power loss can’t hold us down!
After Hurricane Hermine tore through our communities, many businesses lost power and couldn’t open their doors. That was the case for most of Tallahassee, Florida, but fortunately for Publix, our stores were ready with backup power.
Although we were able to power the store with generators, we needed to make sure our parking lots were still well-lit and safe at night. So facility services jumped into action in Tallahassee and rented parking lot lights to help make it possible for customers to park.
And when the Leon County Sheriff’s Office saw how hard our stores were working to serve the community, they returned the favor. The sheriff assigned a deputy or officer to assist with security and traffic control at each of our Tallahassee stores at night.
“The presence of a sheriff deputy or police officer promoted a level of safety for our customers and associates that was very important given the difficult circumstances that the community was enduring,” said Jacksonville Division Loss Prevention and Safety Manager Nolan Bomar.
As a thank you, Publix associates and family members hosted a barbecue for 250 sheriff’s office employees. They served ribs, chicken, baked beans, pasta salad and bread.
Partnerships like these help make Publix and the community stronger, and it’s just another reason to be proud of our great company!