Publix Louisville

EXCLUSIVE: A Look Inside the 1st Publix in Kentucky

Grocer’s newer store format brings new competition to Louisville
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
a woman smiling for the camera
Publix Louisville
Publix is in Kroger territory, with the opening of its first store in Kentucky.

“Hello, Kentucky.” That introductory greeting was emblazoned on shopping bags, a speaker podium and other displays around the new Publix store in in east Louisville, the grocer’s first location in the state of Kentucky.

The welcoming sentiment was evident throughout the store and expressed by its team members during a preview tour of the site ahead of the Jan. 10 official opening. From associates who enthusiastically shared samples of and stories behind made-in-house items like blueberry breakfast sausage and ganache cake to displays featuring local Kentucky products to a first look at the in-store gathering spots, it was a tour de force in hospitality from the Florida-based retailer now attracting new fans in the Bluegrass State. (See below for more store images.)

Located at 2500 Terra Crossing Boulevard, the nearly 55,600-square-foot Publix is one of three new locations planned for Louisville and the first of six in Kentucky. “It’s one of our newer format stores and allows us to do some of our unique venues,” said Maria Brous, director, media and communications at Publix Super Markets, who provided Progressive Grocer with a brief tour ahead of the media event.

Those unique venues include an expansive foodservice-at-retail and prepared foods area, with an in-the-round layout that evokes a food court. At one station, shoppers can have an associate build them their own custom Mexican-style burritos and bowls, while at another, they can order from a menu of pasta bowls, pizzas and appetizers like stuffed mushrooms and pizza fondue. Publix’s signature chicken tenders and Pub Subs are available too, as are in-house sushi items and ramen bowls from a sushi area. 

[Read more: “The Rise of Supermarket Prepared Foods”]

In addition to other deli staples like a salad bar and hot soup bar, this Publix includes a separate Pours space that serves up espresso drinks, fresh fruit smoothies, acai bowls, craft sodas and on-tap beers from local brewers. There are some inventive varieties, like a Citrus Mule craft soda, avocado smoothie and a Nate’s coffee stout beer, among dozens of other offerings in the drink menu. Customers can take beverages home in growlers, sit at the bar for flights or order a drink to carry while on their shopping jaunt.

Publix sushi
The new Publix in Louisville features several foodservice and prepared food stations, including a sushi bar.

There is also space to sit and stay for a spell in this Louisville Publix, both at the Pours area and in a second-level mezzanine that overlooks the entire store. Shoppers in grab-and-go mode can order from the foodservice stations or browse the prepared foods area that features chicken, ribs and other hot foods. “We realize that we’re creating meal solutions and are trying to make it easier for customers. That’s still a number one driver – convenience,” said Brous, adding that this location will include some recipes that are specific to Kentucky, with local flavor profiles.

Other highlights of the new Publix in Louisville include the in-store bakery with a large viewing window, where shoppers can see bakery team members make bread, pastries and the grocer’s signature cakes. The seafood department carries a wide variety of fish, shellfish and other offerings flown in daily and also offers pre-seasoned and ready-to-cook options like bourbon-marinated salmon and mini seafood pies. In the meat department, staff butchers cut meat in house and can engage with shoppers to answer questions about Greenwise organic meats. Over in the produce section near the foodservice area, customers can gaze at the picture-perfect displays and pick out fresh fruits and vegetables as well as value-added kits and packaged items that meet their interest in variety and convenience. The grocery aisles, meanwhile, are stocked with nearly 40,000 items, and the store includes a sizable pharmacy with drive-thru service.

Publix is also operating a full liquor store adjacent to the grocery store, the first Publix Liquors outside its home state of Florida. In a nod to its Kentucky location, that shop will feature more than 250 bourbon products, including a limited-time, small-batch birthday cake variety of Maker’s Mark that was created especially for Publix. 

At the Jan. 9 preview event, Publix officials extended their hello to Kentuckians, welcoming them to the banner and sharing appreciation for the welcome they have received in turn. “Thank you for sharing your love of this great city that we now have the privilege and the honor and joy to call home. We’re excited about the work we’ve been able to do together and looking forward to doing eve more work together to serve this great community,” declared Kim Reynolds, community relations manager. 

Added Joey Riddle, VP of Publix’s Charlotte division: “We want to offer you premier customer service throughout the store in a clean and pleasant shopping environment filled with so many quality products, and we definitely want to be involved as responsible citizens in our communities. As a food retailer, we believe that helping feed people in need is central to who we are."

On that point, as another gesture to its new community, Publix is working with the Dare to Care food bank, and is delivering 40,000 pounds of produce during its opening week to that organization. Fresh food donations will be shared with Dare to Care on a regular basis. 

The Publix in Louisville will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Employee-owned and -operated Publix has close to 1,300 supermarkets in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky. Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix is No. 12 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named the company one of its Retailers of the Century.

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