- Publix has announced plans for the third new GreenWise Market store, this time in its headquarters city of Lakeland, Florida, according to a press release.
- The 25,000-square-foot specialty store will open early next year. The other two locations will be in Tallahassee, Florida, slated for a January 2019 opening; and in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, set for a September 2018 opening. Publix had previously opened three Publix GreenWise stores in 2007, with footprints of 36,000 to 39,000 square feet.
- The three new stores will be titled ‘GreenWise Market’ and will not reference Publix in their name. The new Lakeland store, it will be located across the street from a full-scale Publix supermarket.
More than a decade after it opened its first and only Publix GreenWise stores, the retailer has settled on a smaller concept, jettisoned ‘Publix’ from the name and is ready to add more units. Publix apparently has completed its research into the format and is ready for prime time. The chain has said it's continuing to look for additional GreenWise locations throughout its operating area.
While hometown locations are expected for flagship stores, in the case of a new format like GreenWise Market, it will allow executives to keep tabs on it, run test programs and bring visitors to show the range of Publix’s offerings and innovations. Local goodwill toward a major employer also tends to translate into sales.
Going without the ‘Publix’ name, and the very small size is a bit more significant. While the stores will stock Publix-branded items, the goal is to carve out a unique brand identity for the GreenWise concept. With this, the new stores can be located next to Publix’s regular stores and still attract their own customer following.
The smaller size stores follow a trend that is spreading rapidly across the industry. These locations fit more easily into built-up areas, more readily handle the logistics of pickup and delivery, and fill geographic gaps between the much larger stores. In addition, it takes some pressure off the already over-SKU’d traditional supermarket to stock the many new natural and organics products that are in increasing demand from consumers.
GreenWise Market also can be seen as a preemptive strike against others in the growing natural and organics space, notably Whole Foods Market and its 365 stores, plus Target, Trader Joe’s, Lucky’s Market and Sprouts Farmers Market which operate stores in about the same footprint. There’s independent competition, as well. In Lakeland, Chamberlin’s recently opened its second natural foods market, a 7,000 square foot store.
Locating the store across the street from a traditional Publix is a bit of a head scratcher. But the new GreenWise location will operate mainly as a meal and quick-trip destination, holding wine and cheese tastings, and selling burrito bowls, Mediterranean pizza, sushi, smoked wings and craft beers. If it effectively complements the larger store, Publix could have an effective tool to expand customer penetration in existing markets, and to push into new ones, as well.