Earlier this month, I shared a Facebook post from the oft-hilarious Florida Memes, which asked, “What are the most ‘Floridian’ phrases you use?”
One of my friends wrote, “My Publix.” As in, most of us Floridians so strongly identify with our community’s Publix grocery store as to have their very own Publix that they love, cherish, and know exactly where everything is located. At any time in one’s life, “their Publix” is arguably the best Publix.
In my thirty-sevenish years as a Floridian, I’ve laid claim to six Publixes. (Yes, I’m declaring “Publixes” as the plural of Publix) There are three I bounce between where I live in northeast Broward, all within a three-mile radius of home, but of course only one can be the favorite, cherished, “My Publix.” But like any relationship, when you commit to make a Publix yourown, you must love it, despite – and even for – its flaws.
Who needs the beach when you can take your out-of-town guests for a ride on the cart escalator?
Among the many things I love about Publix are the ingenious ways they adapt to the real estate on which the stores are built. Over the years, I’ve frequented what I call “standard Publixes,” which generally anchor suburban and small-town shopping plazas. These generally have wide aisles you can float through, a la Maria in The Sound of Music, hand-selecting perfect produce one moment, sampling roast beef and swiss cheese the next. I shopped for several years at a mini-Publix in a small, corner plaza with tiny aisles and miniature carts, and another in downtown Fort Lauderdale with a parking garage and cart escalator. Who needs the beach when you can take your out-of-town guests for a ride on the cart escalator? Said garage is also possibly the hottest place in the entire state in summer, but you never have to worry about getting caught in an afternoon sunshower.
Stores also adapt their offerings to their surroundings. Thecart-escalator Publix is walking distance from the county courthouse and has acafé that sells Cuban coffee, croquetas and Venezuelan-style sweet corn arepas.Live in South Florida for any period of time and you’ll understand howaddictive and magical that can be. Stores near vacation-rental communities andtourist areas have convenient displays of sunscreen and souvenirs. College-townstores have local-university-branded swag.
A Publix Greenwise market, their organic boutique offering,is going into a tower being built next to my office. What a time to be alive!What will I do – have two Publixes? Maybe having a “work Publix”and a “home Publix” will become a thing? Is that considered Publygamy?
Regardless of my relationship status with Publix, one thingis certain. If you know a Floridian, they have a Publix of their own, and it’sthe very best one.