tbo: Tampa Bay Online.
Saturday, Jun 23, 2018
  • Home

Documentary explores life of Publix founder ‘Mr. George’

If you recognize the moustached face and slicked-back hair on the poster for “Mr. George,” but can’t quite figure out why, you’re probably a Publix shopper. A similar photograph of the supermarket’s founder hangs in all 1,078 of the Publix stores that dot Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina and Tennessee.

A new documentary about the man in that photo, George W. Jenkins, premieres next month at the Polk Theatre in Lakeland. That’s about 16 miles from where a 23-year-old Jenkins opened his first Publix store in 1930.

The 70-minute film, narrated by actor Tom Selleck, will premiere at 7:30 p.m. on March 7, and will also screen at 7:30 p.m. on March 8 and 2 p.m. on March 9.

Tickets are available through polktheatre.org and cost $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, and $4 for children.

“Mr. George” will explore the life and legacy of Jenkins and the supermarket that grew into the largest employee-owned company in the United States with annual sales close to $27 billion.

Jenkins died in 1996. The film features archival footage of him, as well as interviews with family, friends and former employees.

Among the facts in the film is the story of how Jenkins chose the name Publix, which he borrowed from the name of a local movie theater, Lakeland-based NFocus Pictures said.

There are no further plans to screen the film in theaters, but it will be released on DVD in the coming months, producer Rob Tritton said.

Weather Center