I finally gave into all the peer pressure of overhearing this past weekend how great the new Publix in Southend is. I stopped in today for the first time to just grab a sub for lunch and ended up walking out with a sub and 2 cakes. Funny how that happens.
The last time I had been to a Publix was eons ago and I don’t even really remember it so I feel like I had a completely unbiased view as I experienced Charlotte’s newest grocery store. I parked in the 2nd level of the very roomy parking deck beneath the store and headed up to the main level to the store’s entrance. I was immediately greeted by a nice woman who handed me a monthly calendar and coupon booklet. As I had heard from others, the customer service was exceptional to the point that it was almost overwhelming. After thanking the greeter woman, I was then spoken to by the nice gentleman working behind the ice cream and gelato counter. This is how that conversation went: “Hi miss! Would you like to try some ice cream?” Me: “Well, I haven’t had lunch yet… but OK!” I will probably never turn down samples of ice cream or gelato. And anyone who would, we probably wouldn’t be friends.
After sampling 4 kinds of gelato and ice cream, I actually started to try to make my way towards the sub line and was immediately greeted by a super nice guy selling cakes. I sort of think that Publix wants to make you fat before you even have a chance to get to the healthy stuff. It’s like a restaurant that serves unlimited bread before your meal that you’re paying for. I’ll never get it.
Anyway, after talking with the very convincing cake-pusher, I told him that I would most likely come back to buy a cake or two (they were buy one, get one free!). I also told him that I could freeze one of the cakes so they wouldn’t go bad. Somehow in my mind this made me feel less gluttonous. I wonder if that cake guy gets paid on commission…
After pushing my way through the ice cream, gelato, and cake obstacles, I found myself roaming around the produce aisle (healthy food!), salad bar, more food samples that I successfully avoided because I decided I couldn’t spend all day at Publix, and the sub line. The produce aisles were beautifully arranged and the products looked of great quality. I did notice that some prices of the produce items were priced higher than Harris Teeter and others were noticeably priced lower. I’m pretty sure the entire store is priced this way. Side note: Someone in the new Publix produce needs to get it together. See photo below.
The salad bar was a little disappointing compared to the Harris Teeter salad bar that I frequent during the week. It was maybe a quarter of the size of the HT bar so I doubt I’d be making a trip to Publix just for a salad.
However, the sub from Publix was fantastic! The bread was a very dense, yet soft, wheat bread and the sub was itself was rather large. I’ve never been a huge fan of Harris Teeter subs so Publix definitely wins this battle in my book. I opted to go with the sub combo which included a small bag of chips and a fountain drink for a total of $7.19. Not bad at all for a decent, quick lunch.
As I waited in line to order my sub, one of the managers introduced himself, gave me a small sample of fried chicken (they got me again), and informed me of their online ordering service. Apparently, you can order your sub online before you enter the store and pick it up without having to wait for it to be made. Cool, right? You can also order your sub at their sub kiosk and shop the store while you wait for your sub to be made. I’m totally doing this next time. Maybe I can find me some more food samples while I wait for my sub to be made.
Although, I did not technically shop for groceries on today’s visit to Publix, I did walk around enough to get the jist. Their products are very much the same as Harris Teeter, although some are pricier and some are less expensive. Their subs are awesome and afforable. The salad bar is lacking. The parking is a breeze, which is nice compared to many other grocery stores in the center city. Lastly, the customer service is exceptional. I typically don’t go to grocery stores just because people are nice to me but I can easily see the difference in the attitude of the employees at Publix compared to others. We’ll just have to wait to see if that mentality lasts. If you live near Southend, I suggest stopping into the new Publix to explore all that they have to offer. If anyting, do it for the free samples while they last.