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Step back in time: Publix in the 1960s

If you grew up in the 1960s, you were most likely among the first to eat Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts and Lucky Charms cereal. You also watched the premier of ABC Network’s color program, The Jetsons, a cartoon series about a space-age family. The Beatles made their U.S. debut on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, and in 1967, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in the first Super Bowl. 

Modern styles of the 1960s brought changes to the appearance of Publix stores. The art deco architecture was replaced with a wing design created by famed Florida architect Donovan Dean. Centered in the wings were neon lights that blinked downward. At night, the lights looked like a flowing waterfall. These “wings” helped Publix fly to new heights. 

The 1960s was a decade of growth for Publix. The company hit a milestone in 1964 when it opened its 100th store. It was a grand celebration! Among the attendees of the store opening were Publix founder Mr. George’s family and none other than Dick Pope Sr., founder of Florida’s famous attraction, Cypress Gardens. At the end of the decade, Publix had 150 stores and 4,000 associates throughout the company. 

With the expansion to the southeast coast of Florida, it was time to establish a distribution facility to support stores in that region of the state. A new warehouse was built in Miami, and it opened in March 1963. Now Publix was ready for unprecedented growth. 

On Dec. 8, 1966, we hit a milestone in Miami when five Publix stores opened simultaneously. Even today, opening five stores at the same time would be pretty spectacular, but it was considered a historical event in the 1960s. 

By the late 1960s, the “lunchmeat and cheese” section of the meat department became the delicatessen department. Another new department was the Danish Bakery. When Publix bakeries first began, they were actually separate from the store itself, with separate entrances. Moving the bakery into the store was much more convenient for customers. Read all about the history of Publix bakeries here

As the trend of company-labeled products known as “private label” continued to expand in the supermarket industry, Publix was at the forefront, offering more of its own brand. In 1968, Publix introduced a selection of cultured products called Dairi-Fresh. Breakfast Club margarine also joined the growing number of Publix private label items. This trend would not only continue, but it would also eventually result in Publix developing its own manufacturing plants.  

Just like today, when customers had their carts full of products, friendly Publix cashiers were waiting for them at the register. But unlike today there were no scanners, so the cashier punched in the price of each item on a cash register, and the customer paid with cash or check. If you’re wondering how cashiers knew what the prices were without scanners, every individual item had a price sticker on it. All those price stickers had to be put on the items by hand before being placed on the shelves. Those stock clerks did a lot of stamping! Little did they know, technology was coming that would make things much easier for both the customers and the store associates. 

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Asset Description Download Link
The outside of a Publix store featuring the new wing design that was introduced in the 1960s Download*
Centered in the wings were neon lights that blinked downward Download*
A large crowd stands in front of the grand opening of the 100th store in 1964 Download*
Outside shot of the new warehouse built in Miami, which opened in 1963 Download*
Delicatessen Department Download*
In the 1960s the Danish Bakery department was created and implemented in stores Download*
Publix private labeled cultured products called “Dairi-Fresh” Download*
The inside of a store in the 1960s Download*