Northerners Have Mixed Reactions to Florida's Publix: "The People Are So Lovely"

L. Cane

If you live in or regularly visit Florida, you've likely visited a Publix. After all, the supermarket has 859 stores throughout the state, the store is headquartered in Lakeland, and the franchise began in Winter Haven.

Local publications and news organizations sometimes write about Florida's "crush" on Publix.

But how about people who aren't from Florida? How about people who live up north and don't have access to a Publix?

This article will hear voices from shoppers who live in northern states and have visited Publix. Some had nice things to say and others were more critical.

A Brooklyn Resident Visits a North Miami Publix: Joey Hadden lives in Brooklyn, New York, and visited Publix for Business Insider in the winter of 2022.

Hadden was struck by the difference in prices between grocery items in Publix versus those available in Brooklyn. For example, she found Justin's peanut butter in Publix for $12 and she normally pays $15 in Brooklyn.

Hadden had heard about pub subs, so she ordered one with roast beef and paid only $5.50 for a half sub. She said a comparable sub in Brooklyn would cost $10.

Hadden was also delighted to find pharmacy items inside the Publix, as she would normally have to shop at a separate pharmacy back home.

Overall, Hadden summed it up with:

"The next time I have to stop at two different markets plus a pharmacy to get a week's worth of supplies in Brooklyn, I'll be dreaming of Publix."

A Midwesterner Who Lives in New York City Weighs In: Talia Lakritz grew up in Wisconsin but currently lives in New York City and writes for Business Insider. Because of her time in Wisconsin, she is familiar with Wegman's.

Since her go-to places to shop in New York aren't "one-stop shops," she was pleasantly surprised that the Publix she visited in July of 2022 had so many offerings under one roof.

Specifically, Lakritz was surprised to find travel-sized toiletries and pharmacy items inside a grocery store, and she compared the electronics section to a Target store.

Lakritz also greatly appreciated that Publix had a large kosher selection and noted that even Publix's branded macaroni and cheese are kosher.

She was surprised to see grits and hobby magazines stocked, as these were not things she would find in a New York grocer.

In parting, Lakritz wrote:

"As a one-stop shop for groceries, pharmacy items, and gadgets, I can see why Southerners love Publix so much."

A Retired New Yorker Who is Now a Floridian Loves Publix: Shelli Rafkin is a retiree who moved from New York to Tampa. She appreciated that her local Publix was willing to locate some cheese that she was missing from home - sweet munchee. She Told The Tampa Bay Times in the winter of 2021:

“They got the cheese for me in two days. The people are so lovely - the culture is so welcoming.”

A Visitor From Boston Is Not Impressed: Although the New Yorkers mentioned above found things to like about Publix, a social media poster from Boston who visited Publix over the Christmas holidays in 2021 was less than impressed and wrote, in part:

"...I decided to try shopping at Publix a few times. I get why people like Wegmans or Trader Joe's, but I don't get why people like Publix. The stores and prices weren't much better than mainstream brands like Stop & Shop or Safeway which are in other parts of the country. The subs weren't any better than a corner pizza shop. Roche Bros - a regional chain in Boston - seemed just as good as Publix, but you don't see people raving about it..."

Regardless of how you feel about Publix or other Florida supermarkets, one good thing about Florida is that it has a wide variety of stores from which to choose. Other options for Floridians are Winn Dixie, Aldi, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Costco, and Walmart.

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