Publix opening pushed back to winter
by Patrick McCreless
pmccreless@annistonstar.com
Oct 29, 2012 | 10427 views |  0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Construction at the Publix site in Oxford is shown as of Friday, Oct. 26. (Anniston Star photo by Trent Penny)
Construction at the Publix site in Oxford is shown as of Friday, Oct. 26. (Anniston Star photo by Trent Penny)
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Residents anxiously waiting for the new Publix Super Market to open in Oxford will need to be patient.

Eric Brewer, of WR Oxford, developer of the Oxford Commons retail complex that will house the supermarket, said he expects it to open in a few more months. When the project was announced last year, it was slated for a fall 2012 completion date.

“Right now we’re shooting for a winter opening,” Brewer said.

Brewer said the delay was due to a combination of factors.

“There was some bad weather that slowed us down and some construction supply issues,” Brewer said.

The 49,098-square-foot Publix store is under construction at Exit 188 on Interstate 20, across from the Oxford Exchange. In addition to Publix, the complex will include other retail, business and restaurant outlets. To date, the only other business announced for the site is Panera Bread, a bakery and café chain.

“We’re still working on locking down several different things,” Brewer said.

Panera Bread is expected to open next year, employ between 30 and 40 people and have a drive-thru.

Brenda Reid, spokeswoman for Publix, said so far her company does not know exactly how many people it will hire for its Oxford location. However, Publix averages around 100 employees per supermarket, Reid said.

“But we always open hiring up to existing associates first and consider them for positions,” Reid said.

Reid noted that Publix will host a jobs fair for the new supermarket between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Oxford.

“We will be taking applications for all positions,” she said.

Reid added that hiring typically begins about four weeks before a store opens, however, Publix has yet to set an exact opening date.

According to its website, Publix is the largest employee-owned supermarket chain and one of the 10 largest volume supermarket chains in the country. The company currently employs more than 153,000 people and has 1,061 locations in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina.

David Livingston, supermarket analyst for DJL Research, a Milwaukee-based market research firm, said Publix has done well in recent years and is highly competitive with other grocery chains and even Walmart Super Centers.

“Mostly where Publix differentiates themselves is with customer service,” Livingston said. “They are growing slowly and methodically.”

Livingston said Publix tends to have higher employee satisfaction than other grocery chains since they all own a part of the company and have some control over pay and benefits.

“They get paid more,” Livingston said.

Reid said Publix is very competitive when it comes to employee pay.

“We do start above minimum wage for entry-level positions,” Reid said.

According to its website, Publix is the largest employee-owned supermarket chain and one of the 10 largest volume supermarket chains in the country. The company currently employs more than 153,000 people and has 1,061 locations in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina.

Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.
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