EAST MANATEE -- Deboah Mayes loves Publix for its customer service.
"If you ask where something is, they go get it, they don't point," Mayes said.
For retiree Joe Angers, the grocery story is synonymous with life in Florida.
"They're the king," he said.
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The Sabal Harbour resident and hundreds of others came out Thursday morning to the grand opening of the new Publix at Lockwood Commons, on State Road 70 and Lockwood Ridge Road. The 46,000-square-foot store is No. 1,075, said company spokesman Brian West.
The site had been slated for a Publix for years but momentum picked up in 2011 when Benderson Development took over as owner of the 110,000-square-foot shopping center, said Todd Mathes, Benderson's director of development. Also planned or already opened in Lockwood Commons are a Beef 'O' Brady's restaurant, Subway, Hair Cuttery, KT Nails, Sakura Thai Sushi, Lee's Garden Chinese restaurant and Purity Cleaners.
The Publix at Lockwood Commons is a prototypical store but boasts a drive-thru pharmacy, a feature only found locally at the University Walk location on University Parkway. There are 113 employees at the new store, but only 12 of them are new to Publix, so longtime customers should notice the same customer service they're used to, West said.
Jason Bartolone, East Manatee Editor, can be reached at 941-745-7011. Follow him on Twitter@JasonBartolone.