Where’s your Publix?

I was at a dinner party on Friday evening, and the conversation turned to my current search for a place to rent in the downtown area.  I had mentioned that my future roommate and I were considering locations based on the proximity to a Publix we liked.

“College Park’s out, because we both hate the College Park Publix,” I explained, “and Clark doesn’t like Gay Asian Publix that much, so we’re looking at North Colonialtown so we can go to the Publix on 17-92 near the Krispy Kreme.”

This sparked a flurry of discussion as to where the best Publixes were, which was interesting.  Clark would be happy to know that he isn’t the only one who doesn’t like Gay Asian Publix–his dislike, by the way, is best summed up in a trip to that Publix and discovered they were out of waxed dental floss.  “They’re always out of everything!” he attests, and at least a couple of last night’s dinner attendees would agree.  I personally have been unable to locate GoodSense’s dried cranberries and apples there on repeated trips.  Interestingly, when I went with my mother to the Publix in Oviedo this evening, they had the elusive bag of dried fruit.

Sarah and Robert recently moved to a new area, and at the moment, there isn’t a Publix that’s terribly convenient for them to go to aside from the despised Shine Publix (aka Gay Asian or, with some, “Gaysian”).  They recently joined the unfortunately-named BJ’s, which is a bulk goods store that also sells groceries, so they tend to go there, with occasional trips to the larger Publix on Orange and Michigan, south of Downtown.  I used to shop at that Publix frequently when I used to live with my ex-boyfriend Brent and our roommate, Shawn, on Briercliff.  When I moved to South Colonialtown, I bitched about Gay Asian Publix, but after a while, I loved it, because it didn’t have some things I tended to waste money on, but yet it had all the essentials I needed.

Mike George foodThen I moved to the fringes of College Park and became perpetually aghast at the lack of certain staples.  I recall one event when my friend Mike and I went into the Publix, since he needed to pick up some things, and we walked right back out because that particular Publix didn’t carry Worthington Loma Linda Vegan Big Franks, a staple for the vegan who doesn’t like vegetables, like Mike.

By the way, the Oviedo Publix doesn’t carry, from what I could tell, the Loma Linda Big Franks, as I was looking for them this evening.  Oviedo Publix: +1 for the Goodsense Cranberries & Apples, -1 for no Big Franks.

As the conversation yesterday wore on, Alexis revealed a “dark horse” Publix that wasn’t even considered by either Clark or myself in our rental hunt: the Baldwin Park Publix.  “Ohhh,” we collectively pondered as we thought about the Baldwin Park Publix.  “It’s great!  It’s never crowded, it has everything!” Alexis evangelised.  I believe Erin countered with, “I can never figure out how to get into that Publix!” but no one else had gone to the Baldwin Park Publix, mostly because it’s in Baldwin Park, and no one really goes into Baldwin Park unless they live in Baldwin Park, at least no one I know.  I began to ponder what other secrets Baldwin Park might hold… I hear there’s a Mexican restaurant in there somewhere.

As far as I know, everyone I know shops at Publix unless it’s late in the evening and Albertson’s is the closest and/or only choice, or they go to a bulk goods place, like BJ’s or Costco.  So, when we talked about which Publixes we liked and found ourselves going to, and which ones we felt “never have anything,” it not only showed which neighbourhoods we roamed in, but also indicated what we individually felt were essential for a Publix to have.  Like Mike’s Loma Linda Vegan Big Franks, I have my own necessities that I feel every Publix, or at least the ones I go to, should carry.  Here’s a sample of some of my essentials:

  1. bagged salad greens, Earthbound Farms or Greenwise brand
  2. big bags of organic flour (all Publixes seem to no longer carry the larger bags of the Gold Medal Organic flour many of them were carrying, so I go to Whole Foods now for this)
  3. organic bananas
  4. organic lemon juice
  5. a good selection of Wolfgang Puck soup, my favourites being Corn Chowder, Old-Fashioned Potato and Tortilla
  6. Martin’s Famous potato bread in its various forms
  7. Almond Breeze almond milk
  8. Ghirardelli chocolate chips
  9. Apple & Eve juices
  10. Florida Crystals natural sugars

This list might not be complete, as I’m trying to envision what I used to buy when I used to do more grocery shopping, so I’m a bit forgetful.  Living with my parents, I don’t do much cooking here, so I don’t spend much on groceries.

If Clark and I move in the North Colonialtown area, we can try out the Baldwin Park Publix to see if it’s to our tastes.  If not, there’s always the Krispy Kreme Publix that carries Sioux City Birch Beer and has their Greenwise section right up front, which I absolutely love, or Gay Asian for quick runs for goods… but apparently not waxed dental floss.

South Colonialtown also has Gay Asian Publix, but also the Michigan/Orange Publix, aka the Delaney Park Publix, since that’s where you shop if you live in Delaney Park.  Apparently, the Delaney Park Publix has put in an olive bar near the deli area, which is awesome providing the bar is too high for dirty-fingered children to poke around in, although there are some dirty-fingered adults to consider as well.  Also, there’s going to be another Publix that will eventually open right in Downtown on Central, which should prove interesting.  I’m a little afraid that the Publix may try to cater to a perception of “downtown clientele,” like the now-defunct Central City Market did.  Central City Market generally carried swank wines and cheeses, as well as accompanying crackers, some pasta ingredients, beer and bottled water.  Not much else.  Eventually it turned into more of a restaurant that happened to have a few deli and grocery items… and now it’s a seafood restaurant.  Hopefully this Publix won’t try to be some hip urban Publix, but a functioning one that stays open until 10 pm and can handle what will surely be an insane crowd around lunchtime for sub sandwiches.

In the meantime, Clark and I have to stake our claim for a duplex or apartment, which will then determine our Publix options, among other things.

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5 thoughts on “Where’s your Publix?

  1. It’s funny that you innocently pose the question of which Publix in Orlando is preferable. The real question is WHY, oh why is every Publix different from each other in what they stock. After all, they are a giant conglomerate out of Lakeland and you would expect consistency in such a big corporation. Not that I’m a fan of gigantic companies like Publix but you would expect to find consistent staple products to be readily available in all their stores.

  2. I think the interesting thing is what different people consider “staple” products. There’s a little project I want to do once I finish moving in June… putting my social science skills to work. Details will be forthcoming.

  3. The reason is very simple, and you even pointed it out, even though you didn’t realize it. Demographics.

    The “Gaysian” Publix? It’s a different demographic from the College Park Publix or the one on 17-92. Different demographics call for different product mixes.

    Many of the Publix stores you mention are also some of the smaller stores in the chain. The ones in Oviedo and Baldwin park are much bigger and the one at Orange and Michigan is HUGE. The size of the store can also limit the variety.

    BUT, there is one thing in common with all Publix stores: If there is a product you want that they do not carry, let them know. Ask to fill out a Special Item Request Form and they will get the product in for you. If there is no room on the shelf, they will keep it at customer service or in an area designated for special orders (Like the LomaLinda Franks).

  4. Hi, Neal. Yes, the demographics of each area–Colonialtown, Winter Park, Delaney Park and College Park–are different, despite being rather close to each other.

    The Gay Asian, or Gaysian, Publix is still a favourite of mine to shop at. Although small, it has everything I need at the moment, unless my tastes change. The bigger Publix in Winter Park on 17-92 near Krispy Kreme is the place I also go to for essentially the same stuff.

    Everything else I need, I go to Whole Foods for or the new SoDo Target, which is often rather empty.

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