We are kicking off our yearlong review of major national grocery store chains with a staple of the Southern United States: Publix. Publix supermarkets are a familiar sight in the Southeast - especially in Florida and Georgia. It's known for being a fairly low-cost, neighborhood-friendly grocery store chain and for its excellent house brand line of products.
To read what we like and don't like about Publix supermarkets, and to add your own feedback, click through. Overall, we have had good experiences with Publix as a major supermarket chain. Here are the reasons we shopped there:
• Good selection of organic canned goods: Publix's own house brand of organics, Greenwise, was always a low-cost and welcome option. Our favorites are the canned garbanzo beans, organic apple juice, and tomatoes. They were relatively low-cost and always good quality.
• Great house brand: Publix has won major awards for the rebranding they went through several years ago. They repackaged all their house brand goods - everything from trash bags to popcorn got a makeover. Obviously packaging is not as important as the actual quality of the goods (although they were usually very good) but their clean, often witty packaging was a pleasure we took for granted.
• Good selection of hormone-free meats: Their house brand also included a selection of Greenwise meats - hormone-free chicken and beef. This was accessibly-priced meat that, again, we always found to be good quality.
• Good service and well-placed locations: Always had good service at Publix. The butchers in particular had no problem cutting up meat when asked. Also, there were two stores within walking distance of my apartment, and it was a treat to get to walk to the grocery store in a sprawling city.
And there were of course some things that gave us pause.
• Produce selection: We usually skipped the produce at Publix entirely, favoring a local greenmarket instead. This is par for the course at a major grocery store and we don't usually look for good produce at a chain anyway. The produce at Publix was usually flown in from somewhere far away, even though this location was in Florida and surrounded by great agricultural opportunities. We often went at night, too, and the produce would not be so fresh.
• Limited hours: The store in our neighborhood closed at 9pm! Coming from the north and 24-hour supermarkets, this was a shock.
• Crowded stores: Many of the stores in our city were small, having been built in the 60s, and there were very crowded aisles and limited selection given their small size.
What has been your experience with Publix?
[Every week we're reviewing and posting a grocery store chain or location - if you have feedback on one particular location of this chain, tell us and we'll post it. Our goal is to cover the major grocery store and market options all over the country; if you have a suggestion from your corner of the nation, please tell us that too.]