The new Publix in South Charlotte is not just any regular Publix. It’s Publix’s first store in North Carolina, and the grand opening on Wednesday appeared to be a huge success. When you first arrive at the new Publix in Ballantyne, you must pass a gigantic blow-up Publix shopping bag, full of store brand items. Tucked away in the woods, the new store is kind of hard to spot when you’re going 40mph down Johnston Rd. After you park in one of the hundred or so available spaces, and approach the storefront, you may be greeted more than once. From there, you can choose to enter the store through one of the two double-sliding doors: one set that opens into the main part of the store, the other set opens into the pharmacy. When you first enter the store through the double-sliding doors, the first thing you may notice is the familiar layout. The floor plan of this new Publix is very similar, if not the same as other new Publix stores, like the one in Indian Land, which is just a few miles down the road in South Carolina. To your right, however, is something that the Publix in Indian Land doesn’t have: a Café. The Café serves up coffee and hot cocoa, as well as several flavors of gelato, sorbet, & ice cream. In the bakery section, just a few steps away, there are samples.
We’ve mentioned before that Publix hasn’t tried to hide their competitiveness with Harris Teeter. This is a very true statement because some samples available at the new Publix compare two products. For example: Publix’s Key Lime Pie vs. Harris Teeter’s Key Lime Pie.
In between the bakery & deli lies an alcove that can be easily missed. It is called a seating area, and it is mostly for shoppers who wish to snack or dine at Publix. Other Publix stores, like the location in Indian Land, have their seating area in the front of the store by the entrance. Not all stores have seating areas though.
Moving on towards the deli, you might observe Publix employees in not only the traditional green shirts, but workers in gray, blue, black, & white shirts too. These are not employees of the new Publix, but rather corporate employees from Lakeland, Florida, where Publix is headquartered. They are here to assist the new employees of this Publix in Ballantyne. Near the produce section, which appears to be very large, you may notice an average-sized stand with a lone employee behind it. This is not a sample stand, but rather the stand for Publix’s Apron Meals. Apron Meals are actual courses prepared before your eyes at the Apron Meals stand and distributed to customers in small portions.
Rounding the corner and passing the wine section, you’ll notice more sample stands. They’re everywhere. The rest of the store is your playground, with over a dozen aisles packed with products for you to enjoy. After you stuff your brand new shopping cart, equipped with cup holders, with items, you can either check out with a friendly cashier or at self-checkout, which is not available at all Publix stores. It doesn’t matter if you choose a cashier or self-checkout because, either way, you’ll receive a free Publix reusable shopping bag that proclaims “Hi, Ballantyne.” Free bags are available while supplies last. As with all Publix stores, you can choose to have a Publix employee help you push your cart to your car and/or load your purchases into your car. In addition, if it’s raining, a Publix employee will walk you to your car with a Publix umbrella!
The pharmacy located inside the new Publix also has a drive-thru. That’s right: just like major drugstores chains, and the Walgreens located in the same shopping center, Publix has a drive-thru pharmacy.
It seems that Publix made the right choice to enter the North Carolina market, and they made sure that their first store in NC is the best. At least, for now.
The new Publix in South Charlotte is located at 11222 Providence Road West.
UPDATE: 02.28.2014 at 10:02pm
Publix has announced that they will not double coupons used at their Charlotte-area stores. Publix competitor Harris Teeter does double coupons up to $0.99 face value and occasionally runs super double or triple coupons promotions. Publix has also announced that instead of double coupons promotions, they instead will run special promotions exclusive to Charlotte-area stores. The two stores in South Carolina that are considered part of the Charlotte-area, Gold Hill Store #1419 & Indian Land Store #1412, will also adopt the North Carolina coupon policy, therefore abandoning their old coupon policy which did double coupons up to $0.50 face value.