Publix Opens Laboratory
There’s nothing in the new Publix flagship store in Mandarin, Florida that is so different than other stores operated by the chain. What’s different about it is that the new
store combines features found in the chain’s various formats and brings them together under one roof to create something truly unique.
The chain describes the new store as a laboratory for it to test and refine new approaches to business.
Dwaine Stevens, a spokesperson for Publix, told The Florida Times-Union, “In this type of store, we develop concepts, execute them and then just study.”
The 62,000 square-foot unit is decked out in the lime green and tangerine colors found in the chain’s Sabor stores targeted to a Hispanic consumer base. It also includes the
largest store-within-a-store Greenwise (Publix’ natural and organics food concept) section in Northeast Florida. A large kosher foods area, liquor department and natural wood
displays in the bakery and produce sections are also featured within the store. Also included in the new unit is a cooking school affiliated with Apron’s, Publix’ party-planning
The fact that the new test store is located in Northeast Florida is not seen as a coincidence by industry experts.
David Livingston, principal with DJL Research and a member of the RetailWire BrainTrust panel, said Publix is looking to gain advantage by putting pressure on Winn-Dixie
in its own backyard.
“Winn-Dixie has been making a lot of noise about getting better,” he said. “If I were Publix, I would want to stick it to Winn-Dixie right in their hometown.”
Publix’ Stevens didn’t single out Winn-Dixie as a target but did say, “Everyone, including our competitors, is trying to find a niche. This market is up for grabs.”
Discussion Question: What are your thoughts on the new Publix flagship from an internal learning perspective as well as the message it sends to consumers
in Winn-Dixie’s home territory?