You’ve probably seen historical markers in your community — signs or plaques that commemorate a person, event or place that has a significant meaning in history. Winter Haven, Florida, is home to two of the most significant buildings in Publix’s history. But for many years, you would not have known it because the buildings retained only a resemblance to their former days as Publix stores. Fortunately, both buildings now have permanent historical markers so their stories will never be forgotten.

The process to obtain a historic marker begins with an application. The application requires lots of research and documentation to prove that the site has historical significance. After it is approved by the appropriate governing body, the marker is ordered and everyone waits to see the final product. Of course, the best part is the unveiling ceremony!

1940 Publix Super Market

In 2017, a historical marker was installed at the site of the 1940 Publix Super Market, 197 West Central Avenue, Winter Haven, Florida In its day, it was described as a “food palace,” and the innovations Mr. George introduced in this store impacted the entire food industry. Today, it’s home to St. Matthew Catholic Church’s Regenerations Resale Shop.

Publix Store Front_1940

Publix Store Front_1940_Today








Publix worked with St. Matthew Catholic Church to apply for a historical marker to tell the history of this building. After the application was approved by the Polk County Historical Commission and the sign was produced, the community was invited to a special unveiling ceremony. The big day came on August 23, 2017. The crowd counted down 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1, and the cover was removed to reveal the beautiful sign that will proudly tell the story for generations to come. Throughout his life, Mr. George gave so much help churches and community organizations, I think he’d be happy to know that his former store is now serving the community through this ministry program.

1940 Publix Historical Marker

Unveiling Publix Marker

The First Publix

In 2018, another historical marker was installed on the building where George Jenkins opened his first store in 1930. Located at 58 Fourth Street NW, today it’s the home of a Winter Haven-based restaurant. The owners are so proud of the building’s history, they named their restaurant Tempo 1930. Inside, they created a huge photo mural of people and places from Winter Haven’s history, including some photos of Mr. George and his Winter Haven stores.Historical Markers_Publix_Mr. George Grandson

SixTen, the property owner, also has a passion for history. They worked with Publix to apply for a historical marker so the significance of this building would forever be recognized. On September 6, 2018, the date of Publix’s 88th anniversary, people gathered for a special celebration. After brief comments from the officiating dignitaries, two of Mr. George’s grandsons had the honor of unveiling this historic sign.



Another highlight of the event was the bakery creations specially designed for the occasion. One cake was a life-sized paper grocery bag filled with produce. The other cake was a replica of the 1930 Publix Food Store.

Publix Cake_Historical Building_Publix Brown Bag


Can you guess how many hours it took to create these cakes?  Check out our next article to find out how these works of art were made and who created them.


Jennifer B.

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Jennifer B. has been with Publix since 1980, when she started working part time in high school. She has held positions of Assistant Director of public relations and Director of media relations, but her current role as the Company Historian is the highlight of her career. She loves sharing Publix trivia, telling stories about Mr. George and solving Publix’s history mysteries. In her life outside of Publix, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her husband and catering to the whims of their cat Jackson, who is master of all he surveys.

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