‘Highly anticipated’ Publix grocery store now open in Wilmington

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WILMINGTON — The first Publix grocery store in Wilmington is now open.

Shoppers can grab freshly made subs or sushi, sample weekly recipes, get a ready-to-cook meal – even sip on a sample of wine – at the new Publix located at 716 Bragg Drive in the Pine Valley area. The 45,600-square-foot grocery store officially opened its doors at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

It’s the first Publix grocery store to open along North Carolina’s coast and one of two planned for the Wilmington area, according to Kim Reynolds, company spokeswoman for the North and South Carolina region. The Florida-based company will open a second Publix that will anchor the under-construction Ogden Marketplace at the corner of Market Street and Middle Sound Loop Road.

“The opening of our Wilmington Publix has been highly anticipated,” Reynolds said. “We are excited to expand our footprint into the coastal region of North Carolina and introduce Publix’s premier service and quality products to even more residents.”

The Bragg Drive store features a bakery, deli, meat department, seafood department, as well as a full-service pharmacy.

The store’s full-service deli offers Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, as well as traditional deli items. There, customers can grab a hand-made sub or soup from the soup bar, fried and rotisserie chicken, or a number of other prepared foods made in-house daily, Reynolds said.

Publix’s bakery has an array of freshly baked breads, pies, cookies and a variety of cakes decorated in-store. At the store’s meat and seafood departments, customers can get trimmed cuts of meat and find a selection of fish and shellfish delivered throughout the week. In addition to its seafood selection, Publix also offers shoppers freshly made sushi.

Customers waiting in front of the Apron’s Simple Meals booth for a fresh cooked sample of one of Publix’s weekly recipes. Photos by Christina Haley.

Another feature unique to Publix is its “Apron’s Simple Meals” program, Reynolds said.  Live cooking demonstrations for customers at the store’s built-in kitchen area puts recipes on display daily, with two different recipes selected each week. Shoppers can pick up all of the ingredients needed for the recipes right next to the kitchen.

The company donated $4,000 to area schools in celebration of its grand opening in Wilmington, Reynolds said. Eight schools within a two-mile radius of the store each received a $500 check, including New Horizons Elementary School, Cape Fear Academy, Pine Valley Elementary, Holly Tree Elementary, John T. Hoggard High School, Edwin A. Alderman Elementary, Dr. John Codington Elementary, and Roland-Grise Middle School.

The new Publix employs 140 people, with 100 regional employees, Reynolds said. The company has a total of 1,122 store locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.