Publix Is On Its Way

Article and photo courtesy of The Greeneville Sun.
Published November 20, 2015

The Greene County Partnership and JSI Development have formally announced plans for the location of a new Publix grocery store in the Fairgrounds Plaza Shopping Center.

The project includes an approximate $9 million investment and will create more than 100 jobs. Greene County Partnership President and CEO Tom Ferguson said the developer has requested no tax abatements, special financing deals or other incentives.

According to Thursday's announcement, the 45,000 square-foot full-service grocery store replaces the former Food Lion on the East Andrew Johnson Highway that closed several years ago.

Complete redevelopment of the shopping center will include the destruction of the existing building. Publix is expected to open prior to Thanksgiving 2016, a news release says.

"It's exciting to welcome such a prominent national chain as a result of our focused effort to recruit more retail business for the community," Ferguson said. "This will give our area more variety, which is critical for continued growth."

Retail Strategies, a retail recruitment firm hired by the Partnership to bring more stores and restaurants to Greene County, found in an analysis of the community that supermarkets and grocery stores was the biggest segment for which people leave Greene County to shop.

Social media users gave a warm welcome to the idea of the new supermarket locating in Greeneville, expressing excitement in comments left on the Greenevillle Sun's prior stories.

"Totally excited!" said Jessie Lou. "Publix is such an amazing company to work for and they take so much pride in it!"

"Giddy with excitement!" Vicki Collins wrote.

"I hope we get it," Jennifer Harmon Necessary added. "I've heard it's a good chain and good to their employees."

Ferguson told the Partnership Board of Directors on Thursday that he has had some people comment, "Why a Publix? Do we not have enough grocery stores?"

He responded to that thought by pointing to Retail Strategies' findings.

"It's going to be a whole different experience than anything you've shopped at in East Tennessee," he told the board. "It's one of those that will draw people from other counties to come here and shop.

"There are other things that the developer had lined up and had talked to, but it's not our property. We can't tell him, 'Go put a Hobby Lobby there.' He's going to put the best that he can, because that's what he does. He's the developer."

Publix spokeswoman Brenda Reid confirmed Thursday that the grocery chain has committed to a lease on a store in the Fairgrounds Plaza Shopping Center.

"That store will bring somewhere between 130 and 150 jobs to the area," she said, adding that, "Publix differentiates itself by providing premier customer service. The customers who shop with us will experience very knowledgeable associates who work in our stores."

According to the company's website, with more than 1,100 locations, Publix is the largest employee-owned grocery chain in the U.S.

Reid said that the company prides itself on "clean, well-lit stores" and fresh products. "We consider ourselves a top-level grocery store," she said.

The new Greeneville location will include an on-site bakery, deli and pharmacy, Reid confirmed.

"It's no secret that many retailers follow their competitors," said Greeneville Mayor W.T. Daniels. "We're hoping that the addition of larger brand names to the Greeneville market will help attract the attention of other national retailers that have yet to understand the potential our area can offer."

"This project has been a collaborative effort among JSI Development, Greene County Partnership, Town of Greeneville and Greeneville Federal Bank," JSI Development owner Johnson Small said. "Without the cooperation of these entities, this project would not have been possible."

November 20, 2015

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