Publix, of course, has had a good thing going for a really long time. If you live in the Southeast -- or know people from the region who can't stop talking about how much they miss it -- you know that Publix deli subs are the stuff of legends, associates are the most courteous in the business, and you just haven't lived until you've walked its wide aisles, scored some BOGOs, and carried home that crunchy fried chicken.
Publix now boasts 1,077 stores stretching from Florida into North Carolina, gobbling up business accolades and viral love along the way. But as these vintage photos from the company and state archives show, even an empire starts small. This is what Publix looked like, way back when:
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