Publix to expand Virginia locations, move in on Monticello Avenue

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December 5, 2017

12:06 AM

Publix Super Markets, which originated in Florida, is coming to Williamsburg. With eight store locations already operating in the greater Richmond area, the company announced their purchase of the storefront at 660 Monticello Ave., as part of a larger plan to establish their brand in southeastern Virginia.

I think you are in for a real treat,” Publix Media & Community Relations Manager Kimberly Reynolds said. “We are excited about our expansion.”

“I think you are in for a real treat,” Publix Media & Community Relations Manager Kimberly Reynolds said. “We are excited about our expansion.”

The new Publix will be opening in the place of the Martin’s grocery store that closed July 10, 2017.

Williamsburg Economic Development Authority Chair Adam Steely said that as a resident of James City County, he expects the store to do well in the neighborhood and is happy to see its addition.

“I think that grocery store location has always struck me as being very busy,” Steely said. “It’s in the center of a lot residential concentration and I can’t imagine they are not going to be successful. I think the departure of Martin’s had nothing to do with Williamsburg as a market and everything to do with a corporate merger at a much higher level.”

The grand opening date is yet to be set, and is dependent on external factors.

“We don’t have an opening date yet,” Reynolds said. “It will really [be] determined on the scope of work that that store requires. We did purchase the location, which included the store and the lease. So now we are evaluating the condition of the store and determining what kind of work that may need and then that will help us determine how long before we can get the store open. Obviously, there are other factors like permitting and weather that can affect that as well.”

Reynolds said that she is excited about what the Publix’s brand will bring to the area. She said that Publix is the largest employee-owned company in the nation, and that this enables them to focus on customer service.

“When we talk about Publix, we talk about being the premier quality retailer, and so customer service is what we truly hang our hat on,” Reynolds said. “Our associates are company owners, and as a result, the job that they do every day is to exceed our customers’ expectations, and as our founder would say, ‘treat them like kings and queens.’ So, for example, things like complimentary carryout to your car, having your groceries unloaded in your trunk or walking you to an item down an aisle, just those little touches that make shopping more of a pleasure.”

The opening will employ approximately 140 associates and more than 100 will be locally hired. Reynolds said that this is one way in which Publix hopes to benefit the surrounding community.

“Premier service is definitely something we are looking to bring to the community, as well as quality products. But even beyond that, we can talk about how we revitalize shopping centers and bring jobs,” Reynolds said. “And then just giving back, so when Publix comes to town, not only is it revitalizing shopping centers and hiring local associates, but it’s also supporting our local community, and just working hard to be a great partner in the community.”

Additionally, Reynolds said in an email that Publix will appeal to college students, as their store will have a large selection of grab-and-go food items as well as being known for buy-one-get-one-free deals. She said in an email that there are lots of ways to save at Publix.

Steely said the Trader Joe’s and ALDI stores in town both target a very specific sector of the market, however Publix will have a much larger footprint as to who its brand will appeal to. Steely also said that Publix should also be prepared to face some competition from other, larger vendors like Harris Teeter.

“I lived for a few years in Florida, and had a great experience with Publix, so I think it’s a first-rate grocery store,” Steely said. “They have some good competition in that area. I think our market is well served; Harris Teeter is doing a great job and Publix is in that same category of higher service grocery supply. So, they compete for variety and selection, but they also want to make a name for themselves with specialty products and butcher service and produce service, and those kinds of things that the slightly lower-tear grocery stores don’t really compete for.”

Publix does not stand alone in its interest in establishing a presence in James City County and the Williamsburg area. Steely said that, within a few days, there is an impending announcement of the arrival of a nationally recognized organic grocer to the Monticello Shopping Center.

I think it’s a sign of our growing population,” Steely said. “The town [and] the counties around the town continue to grow and I think that [since] there are so many quality companies that want to come here, it’s not a coincidence.”

“I think it’s a sign of our growing population,” Steely said. “The town [and] the counties around the town continue to grow and I think that [since] there are so many quality companies that want to come here, it’s not a coincidence.”

Publix has made announcements about spreading their stores across Virginia, and Reynolds said that their pending opening in Williamsburg is an important step in the direction to expansion.

“We are committed to aggressively growing across Virginia, and Williamsburg was a great opportunity for us to start to serve southeastern Virginia,” Reynolds said. “It’s a growing community, it’s a great community, and we are just excited to be a part of it. We understand that at this location specifically, we are eager to get our store open as soon as we can so that we can start providing that service to customers and residents there, but it will be worth the wait. We want to make sure that we are providing the absolute best store that Publix is known for, and it will certainly be worth the wait.”

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