Lessons From Our Founder
Our founder, George Jenkins, built this company on a set of values. These values make Publix special to our associates, customers, and communities. To keep his legacy alive, we summarized his philosophies into lessons focused on supporting our mission. These are the six lessons Mr. George believed in, and we still believe in today.
Invest in Others ● Give Back ● Prepare for Opportunity ● Be There
Respect the Dignity of the Individual ● Treat Customers Like Royalty
Treat Customers Like Royalty
Mr. George firmly believed providing friendly customer service and royal treatment was the key to connecting with customers and building lasting relationships. He continually sought ways to make customers feel valued — through store presentation, products, and personal service.
He was quoted as saying, "The aim is to learn all you can about the business to do the best you can for the customer."
And he strived to do just that by making shopping feel like a pleasure, instead of just another chore. He started with pretty plants around the store and freshly polished floors each day. Mr. George eventually added innovations like air conditioning, electric eye doors, and fluorescent lighting, in a time when these were still considered luxuries and not the standard.
At Publix, we're known for treating customers like royalty — it's part of our reputation and one of the reasons customers are so loyal to our stores.
Invest in Others
Investing in others is about making connections, building relationships, working with each other, and learning and mentoring. Our associates realize we can't make Publix successful on our own — it takes the entire Publix family to be successful. And as company owners, Publix associates have a deep understanding of what we need to do. Through our relationships with our customers, suppliers, and co-workers, we continue to invest in others and carry on this lesson from Mr. George.
Whether it was to United Way to assist individuals in need or an entire community, Mr. George believed that for any organization to be truly successful, it must give back. And he set the example for all Publix associates by giving his time, money, and talent to the communities in which we operate. He was once asked, "Mr. George, how much do you think you’d be worth today if you hadn't given away so much?" Without hesitation he responded, "Probably nothing."
Prepare for Opportunity
Not long after Mr. George founded Publix, he realized that with a growing company comes the growing need to promote and hire more associates. He encouraged associates to prepare themselves because opportunities were up for grabs. And he created an environment for Publix associates to be successful, if they so desired.
"Success is doing what you like to do — and doing it well." said Mr. George.
When Mr. George opened his first Publix, he committed to be involved in every part of the business. He wanted his associates and customers to know he cared about them, and he wanted to be in touch with the day-to-day operations of his stores. Mr. George knew that being there for his associates and customers would not only build relationships, but also make Publix stronger.
Until the week of his passing in 1996, Mr. George routinely visited stores and support facilities, attended store openings and associate service awards, and set the example of connecting, listening, and learning. Today, Publix leaders still perpetuate the same Publix culture by living Mr. George's lesson of being there.
Respect the Dignity of the Individual
Before he founded Publix, Mr. George worked for a company where he felt like his ideas didn't matter. So he vowed that at Publix, everyone would have a voice, and the doors of communication would be open. He knew that in an environment of mutual respect and engagement, his associates would perpetuate the kind of culture he wanted to build.
In 1930, he made that dream a reality when he opened the first Publix. He valued his associates and their opinions. And he knew that the respect they had for each other would reflect in the service provided to customers. This philosophy continues to play a big role in business decisions today.