Publix is the largest privately owned supermarket chain in the United States, founded in 1930 by George Jenkins and still owned by the Jenkins family, with stock options available for employees. Based in Lakeland, Florida, they used to be only found in their home state, but they've expanded to Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama since 1991.
Being privately owned, they are one of the most staid retailers in existence. Their stores weren't open on Sunday until the late 1970s; until the late 1980s, all male employees had to wear ties, and female cashiers had to wear ugly lime green uniforms that matched the color of the Publix logo. In recent years, they have been accused of discriminating against female employees when promoting to management positions.
However, they have occasionally made some progressive moves. For example, in 1980, Publix was one of the first major supermarket chains to put UPC scanners in all their stores.
Their longtime advertising slogan, attached in lighted letters to the facade of many of their stores, is "Where Shopping Is a Pleasure." Their prices may be higher than other supermarkets, but many regular Publix shoppers believe their customer service more than makes up for that. They always offer to carry out your groceries; a sign reading "Carryout service is our policy, no tipping please" is posted at the front of every store.
The weekly trip to Publix was exciting for a boy in elementary school in Tampa in the early 1980s, not only because of the UPC scanner at the checkout, but also because the Danish Bakery department gave free sugar cookies to children, and because Publix gave out S&H Green Stamps, which could be licked and stuck into books that would eventually be traded for an Emerson portable radio or a General Electric toaster oven.
Some of this information courtesy of the Publix web site at http://www.publix.com and the Supermarket News web site at http://www.supermarketnews.com.