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New, bigger Publix opens today

Published October 26, 2006

[Times photo: Maurice Rivenbark]
Richard Govinda, who works for an advertising company, places banners in the parking lot of the new Publix on Cortez Boulevard. The 45,000-square-foot store includes a sushi department, a floral department and a pharmacy.


Publix came to Brooksville in 1947. The then-young Polk County chain took over an existing store downtown where the Rising Sun Cafe is now after buying the All-American grocery company and then built its own place in 1950. Today, more than half a century later, Publix will open a new store at 19390 Cortez Blvd., which will take the place of the current location across the parking lot.

The movement of Publix here in the Hernando seat has mirrored the currents of the development of the town and the county.

First it was downtown.

Then it went to a strip shopping center just south on U.S. 41.

Then it moved farther down U.S. 41 and got bigger.

Then it moved across the lot and got even bigger.

The new store has 5,000 more square feet and is the anchor of a $6.7-million redevelopment of the old Kmart. New features include a sushi department, a full-service floral department and a drive-through pharmacy. The new plaza also has more than 14,000 square feet of retail space. No word yet on what's going to happen with the old location or what's going to go in those smaller storefronts around the new location.

Brooksville's newest Publix opens at 8 a.m.

Michael Kruse can be reached at or (352) 848-1434.

"It's probably an indication of their confidence in the Brooksville market. They've been here a long time and felt confident that Brooksville and the trade area was capable of supporting an even larger facility. And that's pretty prize Brooksville retail real estate there. That's a pretty attractive corner." -- Hernando County Office of Business Development director Mike McHugh

"It's a new shiny penny. This is one of their newer models. Everything is going to be top-notch. I think they've got a strong competitor in Wal-Mart, and I think they're coming to the plate, nose to nose." -- Brooksville Coldwell Banker broker Gary Schraut

"You're going to have to be in shape to shop in there. It's going to be so huge." -- Local historian Bob Martinez


Publix in Brooksville


Downtown, where the Rising Sun Cafe is now at 10 S Main St.

Downtown, where the Broken Mold is now at 101 N Brooksville Ave.

Hernando Plaza, S Broad Street

19490 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville Square

19390 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville Square

Now for a quiz ...

1. How many people are going to work at the new Publix?

2. How many people work at Publix in Hernando County?

3. The new Publix is 45,600 square feet. Does that make it the largest Publix in the county?

4. In 1950, when Publix built its store where the Broken Mold is now, how many Publix stores were there in total?

5. And how many Publix stores are there today?

6. Publix has stores in five states. Name the states.

7. George Washington Jenkins, the dapper, mustachioed, cigar-smoking founder of Publix, was born in Warm Springs, Ga., came to the Tampa Bay area in 1925 and got a job as a clerk at the Piggly Wiggly in St. Petersburg. How much money did he have in his pocket when he first came to Florida?

8. Where and in what year did the very first Publix open?

9. In 1940, Jenkins, who died at 88 in 1996, built a "food palace" with supermodern amenities like air conditioning and piped-in music and electric doors and never-before-seen features like an in-store doughnut shop and a flower shop and 8-foot-wide aisles. What did he mortgage to afford the down payment on the store?

10. Name the marketing gimmick Jenkins sometimes used to show off the width of the aisles in his stores.

11. Publix stock sold at $2.50 a share in 1958. What was it selling at 10 years later?

12. In 1980, Publix became the first grocery store to use what technology?

13. When did Publix start opening on Sundays?

14. The first Publix not in Florida opened in 1991. Where?

15. What landmark Brooksville pizza parlor used to be in the same plaza as Publix in the '70s?

. . Do you know?


1. 150

2. 919

3. No. Hernando's largest Publix is in Lakewood Plaza on U.S. 19. That one is 55,000 square feet.

4. 24

5. 884

6. Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee

7. $9

8. Winter Haven in 1930

9. An orange grove he had gotten on the cheap during the Depression

10. He would send someone through the aisles in a Volkswagen

11. $44

12. Electronic scanning

13. 1983

14. Savannah, Ga.

15. Luigi's

[Last modified October 26, 2006, 07:04:07]

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