Mr. George - 50th Anniversary Celebration

As Publix turns 88 this year, we thought it would be fun to take a look at how we celebrated some milestone anniversaries over the years.

When you consider that the company began in 1930 on the heels of the Great Depression and had to go through the lean years of wartime shortages in the 1940s, reaching the 25th anniversary was quite a feat. Mr. George decided to commemorate this achievement with a special gift. He gave each of his 1,800 associates a silver coin. Not only was it valuable as a precious metal, it was a cherished memento.

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Also that year, a 34-page silver anniversary brochure was published with a message from Mr. George:
“In twenty-five years Publix has grown from one small store to the present network of 28 modern supermarkets serving Central Florida. We are, of course, extremely proud of this progress, but we know that without your help, it would never have been possible. The credit is yours, for in reality, you are Publix! So to you — the patrons, the personnel, the producers and the processors — we dedicate this silver anniversary brochure.”

50th Anniversary

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The next big milestone came 25 years later. 1980 was filled with celebrations commemorating the golden anniversary that marked 50 years of making shopping a pleasure. Every associate received an anniversary lapel pin, and a gold medallion with Mr. George’s image on one side and the anniversary date on the back. When the design for the medallion was presented to him, he initially said no to having his face on the coin. “Publix is a team, I’m not Publix,” he humbly said. But the Publix people adamantly persisted, and Mr. George finally gave in.

The number 50 was added to the company logo, and this design was used on signs and product packages. Many of Publix’s suppliers presented Publix with commemorative plaques, and the Coca-Cola company produced a special limited-edition bottle with the Publix anniversary label.

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75th Anniversary

To celebrate the achievement of another 25 years of success and growth, a company-wide birthday party took place on March 3, 2005. We decorated our stores, and customers were invited to sample special Aprons Simple Meal recipes for a traditional southern meal of Country-Fried Steak, Peppered Mashed Potatoes and Southern Green Beans. We also served up a special anniversary ice cream, Publix Premium Limited Edition Chantilly Jubilee and Raspberry Swirl Layer Cake for dessert.

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We sold limited edition commemorative items like Publix toy tractor trailers and anniversary Coca-Cola bottles. Every Publix associate proudly wore their 75 Years button, and the anniversary logo was placed on every truck trailer in the company’s fleet.

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85th Anniversary

For our diamond anniversary in 2015, Publix included associates, customers and suppliers in celebrations focusing on the lessons from our founder.  We held our first Publix Serves Day, during which more than 4,000 Publix associates across six states volunteered their time to support over 126 nonprofit organizations. Publix customers were randomly selected and treated like royalty, including receiving a Publix gift card, flowers, crowns and tiaras, green carpet and all! In the community, the customer prize patrol surprised customers with random acts of kindness that included visiting a local hospital and showering new moms with baby baskets, attending sporting events and upgrading seats and randomly handing out thank you notes with Publix gift cards enclosed, just to name a few.

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In just 12 years, Publix will reach its 100th anniversary. How would you like to see Publix celebrate its centennial year?

Jennifer B.

Written by

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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