Publix Super Markets is heading to Kentucky, the grocer announced Tuesday.
The Lakeland-based supermarket chain signed a lease for its first store in the Bluegrass State in Louisville. Publix is now operating in eight states, with the majority of its locations still in Florida.
Publix began its expansion outside of Florida in the 1990s, when it opened stores in Georgia, and later South Carolina and Tennessee. But that accelerated in 2014 when the grocer entered North Carolina.
“Moving into Kentucky is a natural progression for our company,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones in a statement. “We are excited to serve and be a part of this vibrant community.”
The Louisville store will be 55,700 square feet and will include an adjacent Publix Liquors — the first Publix-branded liquor store to open outside of Florida. No official opening date has been announced for the new location but it’s expected to open by late 2023.
The first Publix opened in 1930 in Winter Haven and there are now 1,280 stores along the southern East Coast.
The Florida grocer has grown in the last year, despite the coronavirus pandemic. It recorded $23.5 billion in sales during the first half of 2021, according to its second quarterly earnings, which is nearly a 4 percent increase from last year.
A new Publix GreenWise Market opened in downtown Tampa at the Water Street development project last month. A 10th GreenWise Market, a brand within Publix focused on organic and healthier alternatives, is set to open in St. Augustine.