- Publix has opened two new GreenWise Market locations in Florida, including one store in Boca Raton and another in the company headquarters' town of Lakeland, according to a press release.
- GreenWise focuses on natural, organic and specialty food offerings. The stores are organized into experience zones labeled with names like "Cuts," "Finds" and "Pours."
- The retailer has rebranded a GreenWise prototype store in Boca Raton under the Publix name, according to local reports. The store had been open since 2008.
The opening of a new GreenWise store in Boca Raton brings the concept full circle for Publix. The city was home to one of the grocer's original GreenWise prototype stores, a 38,000-square-foot location that opened more than a decade ago.
The differences between the old GreenWise format and the new GreenWise concept highlight not just Publix's evolution, but that of specialty retailing as well. Boca Raton's original GreenWise store was larger than the 25,000-square-foot location now running at the Lakeside Centre shopping plaza.
An answer to a then high-flying Whole Foods, it had a wide selection of natural and organic products along with large sections devoted to gourmet foods. According to a Progressive Grocer story timed to the opening, the prototype featured more than 300 cheese varieties, 20 types of house-made sausage and a temperature-controlled cabinet where customers could age their meat.
The new GreenWise is decidedly more practical — and scalable. It still focuses on natural and organic products, but has pulled back on pricey specialty goods in favor of more prepared and grab-and-go foods along with in-store experiences like a bar with 10 local beers on tap.
This model is better suited to contemporary tastes and to the competitive threats Publix faces. The natural grocery segment is a crowded one in Florida, with Sprouts Farmers Market, Earth Fare and Lucky's Market building stores while Aldi is remodeling and expanding throughout the state.
There are currently six stores operating under the new GreenWise format including locations outside Florida, with three opening this year and 12 total announced. The first store under the new format opened last October in Tallahassee. Publix's first-ever GreenWise store under its former model, meanwhile, shut down last November.