New To Tallahassee: Inside The Only GreenWise Market in the United States
Get an insider's sneak peek at the new Gaines Street Publix concept, the first of its kind in the country.
Your favorite grocery store has gone millennial.
Adorned with local artwork, dark concrete floors, marble counters and industrial accents, the new GreenWise Market on Gaines Street is an experience unlike any other. Tallahassee’s newest specialty grocery store is set to open Thursday, Oct. 4 — the first of its kind in the country.
The Publix concept features all natural and organic products. You won’t find any plastic bags, soft drinks, cigarettes or even Gain detergent.
Another thing you won’t see: the traditional green Publix polos. Employees here don black uniforms, but, with over 140 employees, you won’t need to search hard to find help.
This isn’t the first time Publix has tried this concept. In September 2007, Publix opened a 39,000-square-foot Publix GreenWise Market location in Palm Beach Gardens, then two more locations in Boca Raton and Tampa.
However, those locations weren’t exactly the right fit. Publix media and community relations manager Dwaine Stevens says this concept is very different from the previous iteration.
“When we opened our first GreenWise Publix over a decade ago, we knew there was a need,” Stevens said. “We learned from that, and this prototype is created from those findings.”
The previous version of GreenWise was a Publix SuperMarket with more organic and natural options. The new stores are different in both concept and design.
When asked why Tallahassee was picked to debut the new chain — which currently has stores planned in Lakeland, Boca Raton, Marietta, Georgia, and Mount Pleasant, South Carolina — Stevens said: “Tallahassee is a hot spot in terms of organics and food selection. Customers are pursuing a lifestyle not just products. Our Customer Care Department used the input from the community in the development of this store. We wanted to give the community what they were asking for. ”
The 29,000-square-foot store is marketed as a “place of discovery” and a “community destination,” featuring over 400 cheeses, 42 varieties of made-in-house sausages and four varieties of kombucha tea on tap.
The hot food section has changed as well. Instead of rotisseries and chicken fingers (sorry, no PubSubs either), you’ll find stations for fresh pizza, sushi, burritos, pasta and a wing station open Friday–Sunday. Along with the deli, you’ll find handcrafted sandwiches made daily.
The produce section features freshly made guacamole and daily cut fruit, as well as non-GMO and organic products with a creative labeling system featured all across the store. In addition, the price point is “comparable to a traditional Publix” according to Stevens.
“Produce is delivered seven days a week from local partners. We also have over 150 varieties of grains, nuts, seeds and amino acids,” says produce manager Johnathan Sexton. “We have an unbelievable amount of healthy food options.”
The store also has plans to partner with local organizations to reduce food waste and make the most of their inventory.
The highlight of the location might be its copious selection of beverages. Enjoy juices, kombucha, coffee or a flight of beers or cider at GreenWise’s drink station. The bar also has seven local and regional beers on tap, including Deep Brewing, Proof and Grayton Beer. In addition, each grocery cart features a drink holder, and you can find the prices and pours on the What’s On Tapp App.
Also new is the lounge and outdoor patio area. Take your drink and relax upstairs, where you’ll find several televisions, booths, tables and lounge chairs. The space is the perfect game-day pit stop or study location. You’ll find a similar set up outside, with electric fans to combat the Florida heat.
At the center of this Publix is community.
“I like to think of this store as an extension of our community service. We really listened to what customers said they wanted,” Stevens said. “From letters to emails, we took a lot into consideration.”
Aside from the wide product selection, there are a few other features worth mentioning. A rewards program is set up to give you personalized deals all year long, all while benefiting the GreenWise Market Good Works program. This program takes a portion of your purchase amount each time and gives it to a local charity. Available charities currently benefiting are Sustainable Tallahassee, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Big Bend and The Foundation for Leon County Schools.
Tallahassee’s new GreenWise grand opening on Oct. 4 will feature free samples around the store as well as reusable bags for guests — plus some surprises we were not privy to. You’ll just have to take a trip to find out.