historic Publix store interior

Our founder George Jenkins always taught his associates to treat customers like “kings and queens.” When he founded Publix in 1930, he embarked on setting Publix apart from the competition by offering services and value to customers in things not seen around other grocery chains like his “food palace” in 1940 equipped with air conditioning, frozen food cases, and many other innovations.

However, there’s one perk about shopping in Publix that’s been a part of the company since the beginning and still remains to this day: the weighing scales.

Back in the 1930s, scales were popular around shopping areas as customers would pay a small price to find out their current weight.

The difference with Publix scales? It was completely free for our customers.

A Tradition

For those who have grown up around Publix stores in Florida, those metal scales at the front of the stores have been as much a staple of Publix as anything else in the company. They’ve been a part of Publix for more than 80 years!

Personally, I can never leave the store without stepping onto the scale and rituals like this have become a tradition for many Publix shoppers alike throughout Florida.

But why would Mr. George want the scales in the stores to begin with? Simple.

“[Scales] were very popular,” Jenkins said in a 1988 interview. “Even back then people were conscious of their weight.” He later added that more than 5 million customers utilized this free service in Publix’s first year of business.

From Then to Now

The original scale is located in our corporate offices. As you can see from the photo of a store in 1940, it’s changed quite a bit since then. The smaller frame and standing area stand out as some of the biggest differences as well as the location of the scale.

09_28_DL_History_Scales_Image2Originally, the scales were located in the back of the store. However, you’ll find the scales at current Publix locations typically at the front by the entrance and exit doors and about four times bigger than its original counterpart.

Due to the rising costs of the equipment, current scales can cost more than four times the original price. With the wide expansion of Publix stores in the Southeast, these scales are only found in many of our Florida locations, but this tradition has added an unique aspect to the history of Publix. Not only do our weight and health conscious customers enjoy seeing their progress on the scales, but it also can provide a sense of community among the store’s shoppers.

So the next time you visit one of our Florida locations, step up onto a piece of Publix history and embrace the perks of Mr. George’s vision of a grocery store where you are treated like royalty.


Scale Trivia! Do you know how much the original scale cost Mr. George for the first Publix store? Answer in the comments below!


Aijana W.

Written by

If you love to read about ways to use your favorite products and foods in surprising ways, Aijana W. is going to be the blogger to watch. A member of the Publix family since 2014, Aijana loves to explore the diverse corners of social media and hopes you leave our blog with great ideas as well as a better sense of who Publix is as a company. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, dancing, trying new restaurants, and of course – eating Publix GreenWise Salted Caramel Ice Cream!

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