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October 8, 2015

Up Front, the Publisher's Column

Food fight between Florida grocers

Andrew P. Corty | 7/28/2014

Every reader buys groceries, and every reader will enjoy consuming this month’s article on the contest between Publix and Walmart.

I’m assuming that most of our readers do the bulk of their shopping at Publix, as does my family. After all, Publix started here, is based here and dominates the Florida landscape with more than 750 stores statewide.

Walmart started in Florida 50 years after Publix and is trying to catch up. Publix still dominates with a 52% share of the Florida market, but Walmart has outpaced other brands. Walmart has been advertising aggressively to gnaw away at Publix’s lead.

Meanwhile, Winn-Dixie and Sedano’s are in the mix, and many smaller players also take slices of the pie — Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Aldi, Trader Joe’s, etc.

This is a great business story. It’s about strategy, technology, buying power, corporate culture, employee training and, of course, execution. It’s also about consumers changing their buying habits. It looks like the two giants will remain dominant for some time.


When did you last visit Daytona Beach? If it was spring break 30 years ago, you’re in for a surprise.

Volusia County, now with 500,000 residents, is growing up. Its economy still revolves around the mainstays of motorsports, tourism and agriculture, but the level of investment in this county on the Atlantic Ocean is staggering. Daytona International Speedway is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a remodel and also is planning the One Daytona shopping/office/retail complex across the street from the Speedway.

Elsewhere in Volusia, Trader Joe’s is building a distribution center, Hard Rock will open a hotel and condos on the beach, Florida Hospital has a new facility, the education sector is booming and transportation initiatives are taking hold. Our series of regional portraits continues this month with a special section on Daytona/Volusia.


This issue also includes the annual Best Companies to Work For in Florida compendium, our vendor-compiled survey of employees that features 100 large, midsized and small companies. There’s also an excellent Q&A with HR professionals on what makes a “best” company.


Florida Trend’s 2015 planning calendar is now available. We’ll repeat favorites such as Floridian of the Year, Economic Yearbook and the higher education report, but we also offer much new, including a report on the surging population growth to 20 million Florida residents. Marketers can access the calendar now on the Trend website. We will also print it in an upcoming issue.


Trend picked up seven awards for editorial excellence among regional business publications. Hats off to editor Mark Howard, who won for his commentary on Common Core educational standards, to the writers and designers who make Trend stand out each month, and to our digital editors for the nation’s best daily e-newsletter. (Please join the 42,000 digital recipients by signing up for free here).


Fitness update: Proud to say I ran the 5k at the Leadership Florida annual conference in Naples despite the heat and humidity — a factor even at 7 a.m. I did OK but couldn’t keep up with runners like St. Petersburg College President Bill Law or Broward College President David Armstrong.

— Andy Corty

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