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New Publix now open

Aug 09, 2023

The wait is finally over, as the new Publix officially opened its doors in Athens Wednesday morning, July 13. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at 7 a.m., and soon after, shoppers were able to get their first look at the new 48,000 square foot grocery store with second floor mezzanine.

District manager Sean Franklin explained that having more than one Publix is not unusual in an area, and with the current growth and predicted growth, the second location just made sense. "Our real estate department does a great job at seeing how many rooftops are coming to a certain area and how we can serve those rooftops better. The existing store and the building on that other side of 72, they are at capacity so this was perfect," he said.

The construction of the new Publix began in the spring of last year. "There were some set backs with construction," store manager Kristie Aliff said. "We were slated to open up last week but that being a holiday week, Fourth of July, we always bring in a lot of support staff from surrounding stores. The last thing we wanted to do was pull everybody out of all the other Publix's on that big week. It just made sense to postpone and open today."

The new location has a new 360 degree deli and features a sushi bar, olive bar and, an Athens exclusive, a ramen noodle bar. Aliff explained, "Customers can come all the way through and shop it. It has several different stations and bars in there. The cooler system around it has product from the produce department, individual drinks, teas ... it's kind of like a one-stop shop for everybody. You can come in and get everything you need for lunch without having to shop the whole store."

The upstairs mezzanine is a unique shared space for customers and employees providing an area for indoor and outdoor dining as well as a birds-eye view of the store and surrounding areas. "The upstairs is really meant for our customers to grab everything they need from the deli and go up there and enjoy there lunch without the need to go somewhere else," Aliff said.

With the second location, Publix created an additional 150 jobs in Athens. Many of those jobs were filled by local students. "A lot of minors and a lot of mini-minors. I find that its going to be a huge convenience having the schools right here because everybody can pretty much walk to work after school. I think it's a bonus to have them right across the street. We always want to get in minors and mini-minors. We want to start them young and really build that Publix culture into them and hopefully they stay with us," Aliff said. Publix hires students starting at age 14.

Publix Super Market at MidTowne Center is at 165 US Hwy. 31 across from Athens Middle School. It has a full pharmacy with drive-thru, private pharmacy consultation room, and free blood pressure and vitals machine. The store also includes six self-checkout kiosks, Rug Doctor rentals, and dry ice for purchase. The store is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m., except for being closed on Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving.

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