Happy birthday to a Southern institution!

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First Publix Store
Credit: Publix

Happy birthday to Publix!

The beloved Florida-based grocery store chain celebrated an impressive 90 years of business this week.  

George Jenkins, the late founder of the grocery empire, opened his first store, Publix Food Store, in Winter Haven on September 6, 1930—in the midst of the Great Depression. Another location followed in 1935, but Jenkins closed both stores to open his dream store, the first Publix Super Market, on November 8, 1940.

Jenkins mortgaged an orange grove to build his "food palace" of marble, glass, and stucco. People traveled for miles to shop at the market with innovations never seen before in a grocery store: air conditioning, fluorescent lighting, electric doors, frozen food cases, piped-in music, eight-foot-wide aisles, open dairy cases, in-store donut and flower shops, and so much more.

Today, 90 years after the doors opened to that first Winter Haven market, Publix has grown to include 1,100 locations in seven states across the Southeast. It also employs more than 220,000 people and is the largest employee-owned company in the U.S.

WATCH:Publix Debuts Clothing Line for Infants and Toddlers

Known for its cleanliness and hailed as the number-one supermarket for customer satisfaction, those florescent green letters have come to mean so much more than just BOGO deals. Heck, the Pub Sub has even been deemed the unofficial state sandwich of Florida. And don’t even get us started on the fried chicken and baked goods…

Happy birthday, Publix! Here’s the 90 more years!