New 2-story Fairhope …
FAIRHOPE – Have you visited the new Publix Super Market at the Shops at Point Clear yet? If you haven’t, make time because it’s a showstopper.
Grocery shopping has always been my "me time." Cruising the aisle to see what I don’t need but want anyway, comparing prices and seeing what BOGOs (buy one, get one free) are being offered is my idea of a good time.
Today, I took visited the new Publix for the first time. It opened Feb. 22 in the south part of Fairhope at the Shops of Point Clear, a previously undeveloped piece of land on the outskirts of town. Instinctually, I knew it would be laid out different than the store I have faithfully shopped for the last nine years. My family has shopped at enough Publix stores around the Southeast while traveling to recognize the nuances in layouts.
First, let me start by saying the whole shopping center looks great. I can’t wait to see all the empty storefronts filled and the center bustling. A unique and unexpected addition is a dog park. When I drove past, it was being enjoyed by two individuals and their pups.
As I walked in the doors, I was happy to see a variety of shopping cart sizes. The smaller carts are wonderful for quick trips, but the other Publix in Fairhope doesn’t have them. Walking into the store, I thought I might need a map. I headed to the right and was delighted to see the deli and prepared food area with a wide variety of offerings. There are stations including the sandwich area, deli and sushi, but they also have a ramen area, which I plan to investigate further during my next shop.
There is a seating area on the second floor (yes, there is an upper level that overlooks the shopping floor) where you can eat your ramen, sushi or sandwich. It is a great addition considering Fairhope High School is about one minute down the road.
The walls are lined with glass door refrigerators holding everything from chicken salad and hummus to orange juice and shredded cheese. Anything that would have been in open coolers in a traditional Publix is tucked behind glass.
The store has every department you come to expect of Publix but in a new layout. The bakery is in the back right corner, which makes me feel less guilty about that cake or box of cookies I will inevitably need to pick up for an event.
I wonder if the location optimizes the fresh bakery smell across the store. But I digress.
The final feature that caught my attention is the self-checkout area. My old Fairhope Publix doesn’t offer self-checkout. I know not everyone enjoys scanning their groceries, but I adore it. There is something satisfying about the action of scanning and hearing the beep.
My takeaway is to take some time and check out the new store especially if you are waiting for the other Fairhope store to open on Highway 181. I can only guess it will be identical unless Publix wants to keep surprising us and lay it out completely anew. So far, this new store is everything I expect from the Publix brand; clean and well-stocked with a kind and helpful staff. I’ll be back soon.