SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2014
THE GEORGE EFFECT
THE GRATITUDE EFFECT / LEGACY OF GIVING / MR. GEORGE’S FAVORITE MEAL FOSTERING INNOVATION IN THE WORKPLACE / LAKELAND NEON
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LAKELAND 3240 S. FLORIDA AVE STE 101 :: 863.644.7337 WINTER HAVEN 550 POPE AVE NW STE 200 :: 863.299.2630
Publix founder George Jenkins, circa 1950, overseeing the construction of the original Lakeland warehouse and corporate headquarters complex for Publix Super Markets.
In a garage workshop, or around the dining room table. In a rented warehouse, or at the local coffee shop, or yes, even in a humble small-town storefront, a great idea can take rootâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and take off. George Jenkins began with a simple dream: to run the best store in town. His passion for customer service, his willingness to share his success with others, and his legendary philanthropy impacted everything and everyone around him. The opportunities he provided continue to bear fruit; perhaps, even, to inspire others to pursue their own dreams. Because for those who share his entrepreneurial spirit, Lakeland remains fertile ground.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Photo by Penny & Finn
SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2014
DEPARTMENTS SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2014
THE GEORGE EFFECT
20 NOTE FROM THE EDITORS 22 EDITORIAL BIOS 122 OPENINGS 126 EVENTS 130 HISTORY
ON THE COVER
THE GRATITUDE EFFECT / LEGACY OF GIVING / MR. GEORGE’S FAVORITE MEAL FOSTERING INNOVATION IN THE WORKPLACE / LAKELAND NEON
George W. Jenkins believed in the human spirit and that people are a company’s best asset. Here, courtesy of the Publix archives, he bags groceries alongside Publix associates. The legacy of Mr. George, as he was affectionately known, has contributed to Lakeland’s culture and added to this city’s charm, creativity, and giving spirit. In this issue we explore many aspects of what The Lakelander has coined The George Effect.
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• THE LAKELANDER
TABLE OF CONTENTS
GRATITUDE 26 THE GRATITUDE EFFECT
An enduring gift from a gifted and grateful man
LEGACY 28 GEORGE W. JENKINS The legacy of a leader
PHILANTHROPY 38 MR. GEORGE’S LEGACY OF GIVING
Influencing Lakeland’s culture of generosity since 1966
48 NATIONAL PHILANTHROPY DAY®: EMBRACING THE PHILANTHROPIC SPIRIT
An interview with the board of the Greater Polk Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals
COMMUNITY 52 THE ART OF COMMUNITY
Connect and be connected, love and be loved, know and be known
PLATINUM BANK WELCOMES
Tom Pollock Tom Pollock
PLATINUM BANK WELCOMES TO OUR TEAM TO OUR TEAM
Platinum Bank is pleased to welcome our new Vice President Commercial Lender, Tom Pollock. Mr. Pollock, a native of Plant City, has close to ten years of banking experience and a deep desire to be a part of the growth and advancement of the community. With a passion Platinum Bank is pleased to welcome new Vice Lender, Tom for small business and helping businessour owners fulfillPresident their goalsCommercial and dreams, he’ll work Pollock. Pollock, a native of Plant City, has close to ten banking experience and with our Mr. team of banking experts to grow relationships andyears serveofcustomers. a deep desire to be a part of the growth and advancement of the community. With a passion for small business helping business owners fulfill their goals and dreams, he’ll work We welcome Tom to and our team! with our team of banking experts to grow relationships and serve customers. EMAIL: TPOLLOCK@PLATINUMBANK.COM DIRECT LINE: 813-423-7515
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
TASTE 60 MR. GEORGE’S FAVORITE MEAL A reason to gather
MOTIVATION 68 TODD JONES ON MOTIVATION AND LOYALTY
The president of Publix gives us his recipe for success
ENTREPRENEURSHIP 76 THE TRUTH ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP Lakeland entrepreneurs open up about the challenges and rewards of running your own business
INNOVATION 90 FOSTERING INNOVATION IN THE WORKPLACE The key to successful organizations
PARKS AND LANDMARKS 102 OUT AND ABOUT
Exploring The George Effect on some of The Lakelander’s favorite parks and landmarks
CRAFTSMANSHIP 114 ALISON LAMONS: “LAKELAND NEON” A tribute to the creative culture of craftsmanship fostered by Mr. George and cultivated by the Publix team
Juli Surface, Assistant Vice President & Branch Manager, is a Florida native. She grew up in Plant City but has roots in Lakeland where she and her fiancĂŠ are raising their family and are members at First United Methodist Church.
PUBLISHER Curt Patterson ASSOCIATE PUBLISHERS Jason Jacobs, Brandon Patterson Advertising ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Curt Patterson; 863.409.2449 ADVERTISING SALES Jason Jacobs; 863.606.8785 ADVERTISING SALES Brandon Patterson; 863.409.2447 Editorial EDITOR, DIRECTOR OF CONTENT Alice V. Koehler EDITOR, DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Tina Sargeant CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Todd Baylis, Tara Campbell, Logan Crumpton, Jason DeMeo, Diana Smith, Jarrett Smith, Adam Spafford, Bill Vass COPY EDITOR Laura Burke OFFICE MANAGER Deb Patterson ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Beatriz Salazar-Ruiz INTERNS Maggie Ross, Naomi Suchy Design ART DIRECTOR Philip Pietri GRAPHIC DESIGNER Daniel Barcelo Photography CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Penny & Finn, Tiffani Jones, Dustin Prickett, Tina Sargeant, Jason Stephens, Jordan Weiland Circulation CIRCULATION DIRECTOR
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The Lakelander is published bimonthly by Patterson Jacobs Publishing, P.O. Box 41, Lakeland, FL 33802. Reproduction in whole or in part without express written permission of The Lakelander is prohibited. The Lakelander is not responsible for any unsolicited submissions. Contact Patterson Jacobs Publishing, P.O. Box 41, Lakeland, FL 33802 863.701.2707 www.thelakelander.com Customer Service: 863.701.2707 Subscription Help: email@example.com “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
NOTE FROM THE EDITORS
Alice V. Koehler
THE GEORGE EFFECT
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or Lakelanders, Publix is a symbol of home, of community, and of pride. We all have happy memories of Publix: eating cookies from the bakery as a child; sampling Aprons recipes in the aisles on a Saturday afternoon; special ordering our child’s first birthday cake; picking up a rotisserie chicken on the way home from work; selling Girl Scout cookies or ringing the Salvation Army bell in front of our neighborhood stores. Publix is much more than a grocery store; it’s a gathering space. And, no other grocery store incites such a sense of loyalty and happiness; it’s magical. The magic of Publix, however, is not in the boxes of pasta, the gallons of milk, or the slices of deli meat. It’s not in the sparkling clean floors, the bakery cookies, or the selection of cheeses. No, the magic of Publix is in its culture, a culture that has become synonymous with our city’s culture. George W. Jenkins built the Publix empire from the ground up. All the while, perhaps by accident but to our great advantage, he managed to build a community as well. Mr. George fostered a spirit of philanthropy matched by few companies and inspired a sense of loyalty that many businesses only hope to achieve. His legacy of leadership, commitment to community, and dedication to innovation, entrepreneurship, and craftsmanship are ever present in the community Publix calls home. We at The Lakelander are moved by the profound impact Jenkins had, and continues to have, on our city. Around every corner, his legacy lives: in our public spaces, at our schools, in our philanthropic work, and in our businesses. It is our hope that the stories, history, and photographs in these pages inspire you to look around, notice something new about our city, and appreciate the legacy of the man who made “shopping a pleasure,” the same man who made great contributions to making life in Lakeland a pleasure. We would be remiss if we didn’t thank the many people who contributed to this issue. To the photographers, guest writers, and contributors, thank you. To the many friends of Publix who contributed insight and wisdom, thank you. Specific thanks go to two Publix team members: Maria Brous, director of media and public relations, and Jennifer Bush, manager of special projects. We thank them for the invaluable resources and guidance they provided on the journey to creating this tribute to a great man. With gratitude, Alice and Tina
EDITORIAL BIOS TARA CAMPBELL Tara Campbell is a long-time Lakelander with a passion for serving others. A graduate of Florida Southern College, she is currently the team and outreach director for Access Church. In the past she has worked as the teen development director for the YMCA of Central Florida, the outreach teacher at the Polk Museum of Art, and a classroom leader at Parker Street Ministries. Believing firmly that only boring people get bored, Tara spends her free time mentoring middle-school girls in the Parker Street Neighborhood, teaching art lessons, and serving the community through several civic organizations, as well as enjoying all of the friends and culture that Lakeland has to offer.
LOGAN CRUMPTON Logan Crumpton has been employed with the United States Postal Service for the last 14 years. Although he has lived nearly his entire life in the Lakeland area, he seeks out a world of food culture with the mindset of sharing it on a local level. Like many who have developed a love of food, he honed his skills in his grandmother’s kitchen, learning traditional Cuban and Italian classics. Pursuing more of a life in food has afforded him the opportunity of co-creating the food blog Eataduck, guest writing for online publications, as well as trying his hand as a caterer and private chef.
ADAM SPAFFORD Adam Spafford came to Lakeland in 1999 to attend Florida Southern College and, except for a 20-month graduate school stint in Massachusetts, has been here since. When he’s not writing page-turners for The Lakelander, he trades stock and index options.
JASON DEMEO Jason’s curiosity brought him from Pittsburgh to Lakeland in 2003 to attend Southeastern University (B.A marketing, M.A. ministerial leadership). While there, he met his wife, Hillary; since then, Lakeland has truly become their home. Jason’s career has taken him from corporate America to Oasis Community Church, where he currently serves as the Spiritual Formation Pastor. Jason is an adjunct professor at Southeastern, a budding writer, and an aspiring entrepreneur with his most current project, Curio. He feels compelled to help people design lives and environments that promote flourishing. You can find him on Instagram @thedemeos, @wearecurio, and @free60daily.
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BILL VASS Bill Vass is a former officer and director of Publix Super Markets, Inc. He is a native of Tampa, and he and his family have resided in Lakeland for the last 34 years.
JARRETT SMITH Jarrett Smith is a lifelong Lakeland native with a passion for time spent outside and the sorts of adventures that are only fun in retrospect. By day, he’s a digital strategist at Winter Haven advertising agency Clark/Nikdel/Powell. Also by day, he’s father to two rowdy boys and husband to his favorite partner in crime. Jarrett is a graduate of no less than three distinguished Lakeland institutions, including Dixieland Elementary, Hazel Haley’s Senior English, and Florida Southern College.
DIANA SMITH Diana Smith is a native Lakelander, devoted wife, and proud mother of two rambunctious boys. She earned a B.A. in English from Florida Southern College and works at Madden Brand Agency.
TODD BAYLIS Born and raised in Lakeland, Todd Baylis moved back after graduating from Florida State University with a degree in computer and information sciences. Deciding to take a chance as an entrepreneur in Lakeland, he incubated and expanded Cipher, a technology consulting company he helped found in college. This eventually led to the founding of Qgiv, an online fundraising platform for nonprofit, faith-based, and political organizations. In his free time, he enjoys playing poker, golf, and other sports. Todd also enjoys volunteering with various organizations in the community, which currently includes mentoring entrepreneurs at Catapult, and serving on the boards of both the Lakeland Economic Development Council and the Imperial Symphony Orchestra.
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THE GRATITUDE EFFECT AN ENDURING GIFT FROM A GIFTED AND GRATEFUL MAN
by Bill Vass
eorge Jenkins was an extraordinary man who lived a wonderful life, and I admired many things about him. He represented the best sense of what used to be called a self-made man. However, what I admired most about him, he owed to his mother. About two and a half years ago, my wife and I sat on the living-room sofa at Mr. George’s former Lakeland home while video production company, NFocus, filmed a portion of a documentary about George Jenkins’ life. As we sat, we listened to his children Julie, Carol, Howard, and David reminisce about their father. Their conversation turned to their father’s generosity when Julie recalled how he often recited a Bible verse he learned from his mother as a child: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required.” That made sense to me. The verse was consistent with a well-known story of his reply to the question, “Can you imagine what you would be worth if you had not given so much away?” He had answered, “Probably nothing.” George Jenkins grew up with a sense of responsibility for sharing the fruit of his success. His mother saw to it. Not only would his personal generosity grow legendary, but also his example and encouragement for others helped define a culture of generosity for his family, company, and city. I admired him for that. However, what I admired most about him relates not to the requirement to give but, rather, to the reason for the requirement. The verse speaks of “everyone who has been given much.” George Jenkins lived with a sense of
having been given much. In fact, he might have been the most grateful man I ever met. His gratitude is what I admired most in him, and I believe it is the single virtue that best accounts for his uniqueness and his effect on Lakeland. I know gratitude might seem inconsistent with ambition and self-confidence. It is true that George Jenkins was an ambitious, self-confident man. As for ambition, when he owned a single store in the Great Depression, he dreamed of owning a chain of supermarkets. As for self-confidence, his son Howard once told me that his father believed he could tell how well a new cereal would sell just by tasting it. Whether he could or not, his judgment about his business proved correct so often that it would have been unwise to doubt him about cereal. That once-poor boy from Georgia fulfilled his ambition and earned his self-confidence. I doubt many men so ambitious and so self-confident have been so loved. What made George Jenkins different was the way all of his attributes incorporated gratitude. That was true of his ambition, and it was true of his self-confidence. Yet, his gratitude flowed from another surprising virtue in such a successful man, namely, humility. I experienced two salient features of his humility. First, his humility was the kind that allows a person to never forget his origin so he can enjoy how far he has come. I remember walking into George Jenkins’ office with Barney Barnett in what must have been late February or early March 1981. We were delivering
One man’s life touched a whole town with prosperity, charity, and a culture of kindness.
Publix’s financial statements reflecting the weakened, inflation-plagued economy of 1980. The company had managed a slight profit increase but only because of some tax credits related to opening a new food processing facility. Profit from the Publix stores had fallen. While lower profit was unsurprising for many companies in 1980, Publix maintained a firm expectation of healthy profit increases every year in any economy. As we approached his desk, Mr. George looked up at us with that ever-present cigar in his mouth and invited us to sit. I remember my uneasiness because I knew the results were worse than he expected, and he was not a man I wanted to disappoint. He studied the earnings report for several minutes in quiet. Then, he placed the report on his desk and said the strangest thing. “Well, that’s about as much money as anybody needs to make.” That man, raised in modest circumstances in Georgia, having come to Florida with only a few dollars in his pocket, could be pleased with what his company had accomplished though it was less than he hoped or expected. There was a rare humility in his reaction that reflected his continuing surprise at just how well he and Publix had prospered. He often remarked that Publix had become far more valuable than he anticipated. What a pleasant surprise! He was the same man that day in 1981 who over 40 years earlier sat amazed on the steps of the church across the street from the supermarket he would open the next day in disbelief that any store could ever be better. George Jenkins lived his life in amazement at what a man of meager means could build in this country. Though he was ambitious, that ambition was infused with delight in and gratitude for what he had already experienced. It made for a joyful life, and it made him a joy to work with and for. Yet, it was a second feature of his humility that I found most unusual and impactful.
I do not know whether his mother taught Mr. George what the Bible says about humility, but I bet she did. George Jenkins embodied the counsel to “count others more significant” than ourselves, looking “not only to our own interests but also to the interests of others.” That kind of humility provided him unusual awareness and enjoyment of the significance of others. He genuinely perceived abundant value in other people. Within Publix, he considered all associates significant whether they carried out groceries, managed a store, swept a warehouse, or paid bills. Most people know they should think that way; they might even want to think that way. But for George Jenkins it was genuine. It was who he was. His humility equipped him to notice the good things other people provided that made him successful. It immunized him against any sense of entitlement to those good things. In this way, it formed the foundation for that virtue of gratitude I believe most distinguished George Jenkins. If life is a constant experience of receiving good things from other people that they do not have to give us, it is a constant opportunity for gratitude. Most of us have been told or believe we should be grateful — or, at least, more grateful than we are. Most of us were trained as children to say thank you. The difference with George Jenkins is that he really was grateful, pervasively so; he lived his thanks. It is his gratitude alone that explains and unites his legendary devotion to the wellbeing of his customers, associates, suppliers, members of his industry, and the communities he served. Gratitude made him want to be with his customers and serve them well; he could thank them and mean it, and they knew it. Gratitude to his associates meant their opportunity, success, and security were his concern. He wanted them to share in the success of Publix, and they knew it. Gratitude meant fierce loyalty to those who provided Publix with whatever it needed to do business, and they knew
it. Gratitude meant close friendships and active participation with members of the supermarket industry. And gratitude meant contributing money, time, and effort to the communities Publix served so they would prosper as Publix prospered. This was especially true of Lakeland. George Jenkins built a company where generosity and service to community made sense. He set the culture by his own character. That does not mean that everyone at Publix shared his type of humility and gratitude, but it does mean that in the culture of Publix, charity and community service made sense. He influenced his family in a similar way. As the result, our city has been a primary beneficiary of the effect of his gratitude. In the years after World War II, Mr. George, and other like-minded people, shaped a culture in Lakeland in which generosity and charitable or civic voluntary service were normal. They helped define Lakeland as a wonderful place to live, a city with a great heart. I think about Mr. George every Christmas when I watch the story of another George, George Bailey, in the 1946 Frank Capra film classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. Bailey almost missed the wonder of his effect on his hometown, Bedford Falls. One man’s life touched a whole town with prosperity, charity, and a culture of kindness. That is how I think of George Jenkins’ life and Lakeland. Capra adapted his screenplay from a short story after buying the motion-picture rights in 1945. Coincidentally, that was the same year George Jenkins bought a business named The Lakeland Grocery Company along with its 19 locations to add to his two Publix stores. With that purchase, Mr. George chose to move himself and his Publix headquarters to Lakeland. His decision in 1945 represented not only a giant step toward fulfilling his ambition in the supermarket industry but also a great and continuing blessing to the prosperity, charity, and culture of Lakeland. He was a genuinely grateful man for whom we may be truly grateful.
THE LEGACY OF A LEADER by
historical photos provided by
he story of a person’s life is not about a series of chronological events or the places they have lived. The real story of a person’s life has more to do with who they were, how they made others feel, and how they inspired others. When we explore the life story of George Washington Jenkins Jr., we find the essence of a man whose personality captures the ideals of a true leader, a man who inspired everyone around him. Driven by a strong moral compass to do the right thing for the right reasons, this leader impressed with his strong work ethic and insatiable drive to connect with fellow human beings. It is this emotional intelligence that sets true leaders apart and why Mr. George’s legacy is much more than a supermarket. Mister Little George, born in 1907 in Harris City, Georgia, to Annie and George Jenkins,
was industrious from the get-go. Being a small-town merchant’s son, he found great pride in waiting on customers in his father’s grocery market. His sisters recall him running up and down the counter, filling orders with no regard for the actual order but, instead, finding the work itself to be rewarding: “He’d go tearing back there to get what the customer wanted — whether it was a dime’s worth of cheese or whatever.” From early on it was quite evident that he enjoyed being on the front line engaging with customers; he valued the service it provided. When he moved to Florida, his ambitious nature landed him a management position in the familiar industry. At the age of 17, he took a front-line position with Piggly Wiggly. He started at the very bottom — cleaning the floors and being a clerk. Within two
months, by taking initiative and going beyond his duties, he was promoted to a store manager. At this time in his life, he attributed his drive to lessons of motivation from his mother and the knowledge of the grocery industry from his father. Those childhood lessons from his parents were influential, but something more would provoke Jenkins in his early adulthood, moving him to embark on a risky venture during an unstable economy. That something was the sheer desire to succeed in an industry that he loved and to prove, too, that there was a different way to do business, a different way to treat people. After successfully managing several Piggly Wiggly stores, Jenkins made a special trip to meet and talk with the new owner in Atlanta. He had big ideas for making this business
“If you hadn’t given away so much, how much do you think you would be worth today?”
“Probably nothing.” -George Jenkins
nce asked this obscure question, Publix Super Markets founder, “Mr. George” didn’t hesitate when he answered in a way typical of his nature. A philanthropist
in the truest sense of the word, his charitable heart continues to beat in his family and the many organizations that follow his examples. In this same spirit, GiveWell Community Foundation works to help improve the lives of those in the Polk County region and beyond. But the work we do can’t be done alone— it takes generous, like-minded people who love doing good. Won’t you join us? It would be a pleasure.
For more information, please call 683-3131.
You’re important to OUR community, and we thank you.
A Special Offer for Publix® Employees We appreciate all you do for the Lakeland community. So we’d love to make you part of OUR community. As our thank-you, you’ll get a $2,000 Studio credit when you buy a Built to Order™ KB home at Sundance Fields by November 30.*
Sundance Fields in Mulberry From the $170s • 1,676–3,187 sq. ft., 3–6 bdrms., 2–4.5 baths • short drive to I-4 for an easy commute to Orlando or Tampa • enjoy hiking trails and picnic areas at nearby Alafia River Reserve From I-4, exit 25 County Line Rd. heading south. Turn left on Shepherd Rd. and right on Sundance Blvd. E. to community on the right. (407) 587-3580
©2014 KB Home (KBH). To receive $2,000 toward Studio options offer, at least one buyer must be a full-time employee of Publix® at time of contract and show valid proof of employment; present this ad on or before date of signing purchase agreement; sign purchase agreement on a new Built to Order™ KB home at Sundance Fields between 9/1/14 and 11/30/14; close escrow in time required under the contract; and finance with Home Community Mortgage as described below. No substitutions; not transferable, redeemable or exchangeable for cash; cannot be combined with any other offers; and supersedes previous offers. Studio options offer good only at Orlando KB Home Studio. Only one Studio offer per new home. Offer will be credited at closing. KBH employees and their family members are not eligible for this offer. KBH reserves the right to extend, modify or discontinue promotion/offer at any time without prior notice. Other restrictions and limitations may apply. No affiliation or sponsorship is intended or implied with Publix, and all trademarks are owned by the trademark owner. See Built to Order options and upgrades offered at KB Home Studio. All options/upgrades require additional charges and ordering at predetermined stages of construction, and are subject to change/discontinuation anytime by KB Home. KB Home is not a custom homebuilder. Plans, pricing, financing, terms, availability and specifications subject to change/prior sale without notice and may vary by neighborhood, lot location and home series. Buyer responsible for all taxes, insurance and other fees. Sq. footage is approximate. Photo may depict upgraded landscaping/options and may not represent lowest-priced homes. Photo does not depict racial preference. See sales representative for details. CBC051212 ORL-119977 *Buyer must obtain mortgage financing from Home Community Mortgage, LLC to qualify for this offer. Buyer must sign purchase agreement between 9/1/14 and 11/30/14 and close escrow per terms of contract. This offer is subject to underwriting guidelines which are subject to change without notice, which limit third party contributions, and is available only for owner-occupied homes; non-owneroccupied homes are subject to additional restrictions and qualifying requirements. Home Community Mortgage, LLC, 405 State Highway 121 Bypass, Building A, Suite 110, Lewisville, TX 75067. NMLS Unique Identifier #1038152.
ANYONE WHO KNEW JENKINS WILL TELL YOU THAT HE WAS THE TYPE OF PERSON WHO UNDERSTOOD THE VALUE OF A PERSON’S DIGNITY.
better, and he wanted to develop a relationship with his employer. After making the long hike from Winter Haven to Atlanta, he wasn’t given the opportunity to meet with the executive. Instead, Jenkins sat outside of the owner’s closed door until being told that the owner was too busy to see him. We don’t know Jenkins’ exact thoughts on his ride home. But, somewhere in those eight hours, he must have come to the realization that his values and this owner’s values were not in line. Jenkins drove home and left a stable management position during the Depression to open his own store directly next to his previous employer. He and his team competitively battled it out with the Piggly Wiggly for three years until the Piggly Wiggly closed in 1933. He was 26 years old when they won that first battle. During the next seven years, he would acquire another store and tirelessly maintain the two, vowing to provide the very best service to his customers and the very best opportunities to his employees. Anyone who knew him will tell you that he was the type of person who understood the value of a person’s dignity. He had a deep respect for individual humanity. “He can feel just how any person feels in any situation,” describes John Turner, who was with Publix for over 41 years. Empathy was one of Jenkins’ hallmark traits that made him such an effective leader. Many people have suggested that this quality was due to personal experiences he endured. Even though Jenkins’ father was a prominent merchant owner in their small town, the family suffered and was exposed to loss and hardship in their farming community in Georgia. In addition to watching his parents’ home and grocery store burn to the ground, each at different times, Jenkins witnessed the hardships that most farmers typically endured. Then, in his adolescence, Jenkins witnessed an entire community become destitute when the boll weevil slowly wiped out cotton crops. The boll weevil first hit when he was about 12 years old. By the time he was 15, most of his neighbors
were left with nothing. Whether it was these experiences or his innate personality, Jenkins exhibited a keen sensitivity to the understanding that we each have a story. However, it was not his empathy alone that set him apart as such an ingenious leader. His effectiveness was in how he used that understanding of the human condition to treat others and to cultivate a company culture of loyalty. He was able to develop a connection and communicate with everyone. “It didn’t matter if you were an associate on the front line bagging groceries or you were a vice president of a division, he gave you respect and wanted to listen to what you had to say,” says retired Regional Director Ron Losch. All through Jenkins’ career as a leader, he exhibited an understanding of the synergistic relationship between giving and getting respect. Overall, he genuinely wanted to create an environment that generated pride and self-esteem, which would, in turn, make people feel valued and respected. This environment and philosophy perpetuated a drive and loyalty in his employees that would be required as he grew his business. In 1952, 22 years after opening his very first store and at the age of only 47 years old, Jenkins had 21 stores, 19 of which were acquired. However, he would focus on even more expansion over the next three decades. By 1979, Jenkins owned 235 stores, several warehouse distribution centers, bakeries, dairy storage and dairy distribution centers; he employed 25,000 people. During this time, his role as a leader was just as significant as it was in the beginning stages of his career. The expansion of his business meant relying more and more on others to value and uphold his philosophies. Jenkins genuinely acknowledged that, “One of the most important lessons [he] learned in [his] business career is that no man puts together an organization on his own.” As the founder and leader of a growing and successful organization, Jenkins went to great lengths to perpetuate his philosophies of
valuing the individual. From details like supplying truck drivers with comfortable seats and offering a free cafeteria for employees, to visiting stores and meeting front-line associates, gestures of appreciation were especially important to Jenkins. He once told Losch that, “If you take care of your people, they will take care of your business.” Even though he was conscious of using strategic motivational tactics as management tools, his motives did not necessarily originate in his profitable interests as a business owner. He sincerely valued his employees and wanted them know it and believe it. He never wanted to be that executive, like the Piggly Wiggly owner, who didn’t visit his stores and kept his door closed. In fact, he had an open-door policy and welcomed anyone to come talk with him. In 1975, his business set up an Employee Stock Ownership Trust, an initiative that he started with the first store. In the early days of his career, he gave his employees stock in the company by giving them raises and, then, using that money to pay for the stock. Today, that chain of supermarkets is the largest employeeowned organization in the America. The tangible ownership that Jenkins offered to his employees was not nearly as important as his intangible managerial style would be to his company. According to Pete Newsome, who retired as Publix’s Miami area divisional vice president after 50 years of service, Jenkins led from the front, setting an example of work ethic that others wanted to emulate. He had tremendous knowledge of the grocery industry and wanted to share that knowledge with everyone. He wasn’t a micromanager; he set clear expectations of the service and standards but gave his employees the respect and freedom to make decisions on their own. Allowing this ownership over departments, stores, and divisions created a sense of pride and responsibility in the individual. He or she felt that Jenkins gave them the opportunity to succeed or fail, but the bottom line was that it
was up to him or her to follow through. Jenkins told employees that their company was “like a smorgasbord, spread out for you. Prepare yourself. The opportunities are up for grabs.” Working up from clerks and baggers, many have taken him up on that challenge and spent their lives dedicated to the organization and to him. Joe Newsome, Pete Newsome’s father who started out as a truck driver, retired in the 1970s after 45 years with the company. After Mr. Newsome’s retirement, he approached Jenkins and said, “You took a man who had, you know, nothing but hard work at his disposal. You gave me the chance and the opportunity to become more than I ever aspired to be. And I just want you to know that I appreciate it. I want to thank you.” Pete Newsome said that his father told him, “I’ve always wanted to do that. I couldn’t do that while I was still working because it wouldn’t look right. I didn’t want to do it at the retirement ceremony in front of all those people. But I just wanted him to know that I felt that way. He gave me the chance to get ahead.” And then Pete said, “He gave me the same thing.” Monte Thornton, who retired in 1994 after 43 years with the company: “You learn to be a leader. You learn honesty and integrity. Most of all, I think, you learn respect for the dignity of others. Mr. Jenkins taught me a long time ago to practice the Golden Rule — to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you follow that basic principle, you’re going to achieve what you want. I apply it and teach it to the people who work with me.” There are countless stories of gratitude, respect, and admiration that make up the legacy of George Jenkins. These stories show a better way for business and an exemplary style of leadership. So often in business, leaders and entrepreneurs lose sight of why they are in business. They often become consumed with profit or with their own story. Jenkins started with why from the very beginning: he wanted to treat people well and respected their time and energy. He understood that customers deserved the very best service; as a leader, he understood that his employees deserved respect and appreciation. More important than a grocery chain and all of its profits, his legacy is the effect he has had on hundreds of thousands of people who have worked for him or knew of him. It is their stories and the lessons they learned from him that will go forward. During a pre-opening banquet, Jenkins told his front-line associates, “You may not be with Publix five years from now, but the experience you will pick up in our store will stay with you.”
Extended 7am to Drive 7pm Drive ThruSaturday and Saturday Extended 7am to 7pm Thru and HoursHours
Legacy Giving of
Influencing Lakeland’s culture of generosity since 1966
by Tara Campbell photography byTiffani Jones
A few weeks ago, my best friends, Ashlea and Alex, came from Atlanta to spend the weekend with me in Lakeland. Ashlea, a Tallahassee native, lived here for several years after graduating from Florida Southern College. Alex, on the other hand, had never been to Lakeland before. Ashlea and I were more than excited to show him all of our favorite places. We began the tour of our city in my neighborhood, the Parker Street neighborhood, and told him how Parker Street Ministries and the city of Lakeland are working together to better the community. From there, we drove to the Lakeland Downtown Farmers Curb Market, passing Lighthouse Ministries, Salvation Army, and Talbot House on the way. We talked about how some neighboring cities send their homeless citizens to Lakeland because we have so many programs and services to help them. While we walked around the Farmers Market, we ran into friends, struck up conversations with other Lakelanders, and enjoyed the spirit of community that culminates in our gathering spaces. We showed Alex Munn Park, where, in college, Ashlea and I spent many Sunday afternoons giving away sandwiches to people who were hungry. We gazed at Lake Hollingsworth and told Alex about the many runs, races, and walks that raise money for worthy causes. We told story after story about the memories
we made and the cool places to see in Lakeland. And, of course, we told him about our great Publix stores and the role they play in this community. (Obviously, a tour of Lakeland wouldn’t be complete without mention that our very own Southgate Publix had a cameo in the classic film, Edward Scissorhands.) While I was sure Alex would think Lakeland was a nice place to live, I wasn’t certain how impressed he would be or how it would stand up to Atlanta, the city in which he lived. What I wasn’t prepared for was his quick arrival at the truth. As we walked around Lake Mirror, Alex said, “Lakeland is a really great place. You guys do a lot of good here.” Ashlea and I understood this about Lakeland, but this has been our home. We got involved; we built community here. However, Alex had been in town for less than a day and he could already see the character of Lakeland. When he said we do a lot of good here, he wasn’t speaking to the truth that we do a lot of things well, instead he noticed how quick Lakelanders are to help. Our city is unique in its attitude toward others; it has a culture of giving back that has been cultivated and stewarded by passionate citizens for many years. To understand where this culture comes from, one only has to look to one of Lakeland’s most influential legacies, George Jenkins.
Answered Prayer Ministries
Many Lakelanders know his name and that he is the man behind Publix, but what they don’t realize is the scope of George Jenkins’ philanthropic spirit. His idea of generosity has created the giving spirit that defines Lakeland’s culture, making this a unique community. In 1966, Mr. George founded the George Jenkins Foundation. Soon after, however, he changed the name to Publix Super Markets Charities so that it could live on well after he was gone. Today, Publix supports more than 10,000 organizations in the six states that are home to Publix stores. Through the generosity of his extended family, Publix Supermarket Charities, and individual Publix stores, Lakeland’s culture perpetuates and advances. Publix Super Markets Charities matches its employees’ giving to the United Way every year. Together, in 2013, Publix and its associates gave over $50 million back to Publix’s communities. Publix is also currently ranked third in United Way global giving, beating out companies like GE and IBM (UnitedWay.org). Publix does not stop at donating to the United Way, though. There are countless donations made through Publix stores; stores individually participate in numerous drives every year, including Tools for Back to School, Feeding America, Food for All, Special Olympics, and March of Dimes. Through these initiatives Publix has given over $100 million back to its communities over the years. This remarkable $150 million plus does not include the many gift cards given to thousands of food pantries and grassroots organizations across the Southeast, nor does it include contributions made through Publix Super Market Charities. When Mr. George opened his first grocery store in 1930, I wonder if he ever thought he would make a difference of such magnitude.
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WHEN MR. GEORGE OPENED HIS FIRST GROCERY STORE IN 1930, I WONDER IF HE EVER THOUGHT HE WOULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE OF SUCH MAGNITUDE.
Publix focuses its giving efforts on two main issues: youth education (specifically literacy), and hunger and homelessness. Many Lakelandbased charitable organizations also tackle these issues and work tirelessly to ameliorate them. Organizations like Parker Street Ministries, Lighthouse Ministries, and Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine started out the same way Publix did — as a bold idea and with a lot of passion. Now, thanks in large part to Publix’s generosity, these organizations are able to serve more people and make bigger impacts than ever before. Of the 10,000 nonprofits that Publix supports, many are small, grassroots organizations like Answered Prayer Ministries and ElderPoint Ministries. Organizations such as these are inspired and affected by The George Effect, a legacy of giving that provides sustainable growth that lasts far beyond a check in the bank.
ANSWERED PRAYER MINISTRIES
Richard Spinks has worked for Publix for over 20 years and is no stranger to their spirit of giving. “I do a lot of work with ‘Hurricane Water’ here,” Spinks says. “Publix makes sure there’s plenty of water when there’s a storm. It’s not a big moneymaker for Publix, but they want to make sure our community is provided for. That attitude is represented in the people at work too. I remember when Hurricane Andrew hit and everyone would bring stuff into work to send down. We loaded up trucks upon trucks of supplies.” Ten years ago Spinks and his wife were inspired to doing something to help their community. They began helping to run a basketball league
at their church, and even though they weren’t sports people, they clearly saw the benefit of the league. Their experience with this league sparked a servant mentality within them. Since then they have embraced the opportunity to serve their community. In 2010, the Spinks started volunteering with a group called The Gathering that gave food and clothes to the homeless community in Lakeland. Richard was particularly moved by an experience early on. “One night I gave a guy a hot dog and he offered to share his own potato chips out of his bag. I was giving of my wealth of time and he was sharing with me the very little that he had.” Soon after this experience, The Gathering chose to go in a different direction, but Richard and his wife wouldn’t give up. They started storing clothes and food in their own home. When they outgrew their space they rented classrooms at Lakewood Church off of Combee Road. When their initiative first began, they distributed food and clothing one night per month. Now, they serve the community four Fridays a month. They see over 1,000 people per month in Lakeland and Bartow. At at the corner of Main Street and Combee Road in Lakeland they see up to 300 people each week. In 2012, the Spinks became incorporated as Answered Prayer Ministries so that it would be easier to receive donations. Richard’s day job is just down the hall from Publix Super Market Charities. “We’re just now getting our paperwork in,” he says. “Knowing that a company is willing to help us help others makes all the difference. It gives me faith in corporate America. Not all companies are about the money, and that’s encouraging.”
© Meg Baisden Photography
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A truck loaded with products for Publix supermarkets leaves the Publix distribution center in Lakeland, Florida. Photo Courtesy of Special Collections, Lakeland Public Library
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When Jane Hammond became the director of ElderPoint Ministries, she had a staff of two: herself and one volunteer, a homeless drug addict who helped her make deliveries. “He helped me because he needed a way to stay out of trouble,” she says. At the time, food delivery was only a small part of ElderPoint Ministries’ greater mission to serve the elderly in Polk County. However, when people saw the deliveries being made, they wanted to know how they could get food too. Jane asked her volunteer how they were going to serve all these people that needed food, and he responded, “They’re hungry. We need to do that.” And, the food pantry at ElderPoint Ministries was born. When the food pantry launched they had only one set of metal shelves; now, they serve close to 1,000 families per week. ElderPoint is different from other food ministries in that ElderPoint allows its visitors to “shop” for their groceries. Clients choose what they like from a respectable array of options instead of picking up a prepacked box. “The people choose what they want and it [allows them to keep their dignity],” Hammond says. Four days a week, the food pantry operates out of St. David’s Episcopal Church on Edgewood Drive. On Wednesdays, they make food deliveries all over Lakeland. As the need is great, they hope to expand to do more in the near future. Additional deliveries would allow the ministry to reach their clients who have transportation challenges or who are homebound. Several years ago Lake Miriam Publix helped collect 18,000 pounds of food for ElderPoint Ministries in one day, and through the years Publix has contributed to the ministry’s cause in numerous ways. When I asked about ElderPoint Ministries’ relationship with Publix, Hammond was adamant that they wouldn’t be where they were without Publix’s help. “We couldn’t begin to do what we do without Publix,” she says. “A lot of what we [give away] comes from Publix and a lot of our [financial support] comes from Publix.”
ElderPoint Ministries, photos by Jordan Weiland
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NATIONAL PHILANTHROPY DAY速: C SPIRIT
HROPI T N A L I H P E H T EMBR ACING
ater Polk Ch ard of the Gre bo e th h it w An interview Professionals of Fundraising on ti ia oc ss A the
BY ALICE V. KOEHLER
Lakeland is rich with people who, affected by George Jenkins’ legacy of philanthropy, are inspired to leave this world better than they found it. If you open your eyes and look around, you are sure to find someone helping somewhere. A family picking up trash along the side of the road, a retired teacher volunteering at a local school, a teenager delivering meals to people who are stuck at home, a businessman reading with a child on his lunch break, a college student caring for animals, a retiree rocking babies in the NICU, doctors treating patients who have no health insurance: Lakelanders are passionately pursuing a philanthropic purpose. To celebrate National Philanthropy Day®, the Greater Polk Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) will begin a tradition of honoring the local philanthropic community at the inaugural National Philanthropy Day® Awards Breakfast. This day is set aside to specifically recognize and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy and the people active in Polk County’s philanthropic community have made to our lives, our community, and beyond. The Lakelander sat down with AFP to find out more about National Philanthropy Day® and what philanthropy means to our community.
The Lakelander: What is AFP? AFP: The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) is the professional association of individuals responsible for generating philanthropic support for a wide variety of nonprofit, charitable organizations. Founded in 1960, AFP (formerly the National Society of Fund Raising Executives) advances philanthropy through its more than 31,000 members in 235 chapters around the world. AFP is dedicated to promoting stewardship, donor trust, and effective and ethical fundraising (afppolk.afpnet.org/). TL: If we define community as “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals,” how does philanthropy build community in Lakeland? AFP: Philanthropy originates from the love of humanity. When we care about each other we create an environment of fellowship and everything that community stands for. Philanthropy allows people, no matter their life experience, to share in the experience of improving aspects of our community. It brings people together to address social issues and allows everyone to have a seat at the table. TL: What is a philanthropist? AFP: Anybody can be a philanthropist; you just have to have passion and care deeply about humankind. A philanthropist must be willing to use this passion to make a difference with their time, talents, and treasure. A philanthropist
makes an impact by providing funding to find solutions for a great need while also being actively engaged in the process. Philanthropists are equally invested financially and personally in the community. In other words, he or she not only financially supports causes but also volunteers and promotes issues critically important to the community. TL: Is there a difference between charity and philanthropy? AFP: Charity focuses on the immediate needs and the act of giving. Give for the sake of giving. Philanthropy, on the other hand, is how we achieve our greater missions. Philanthropy is the act of caring, and feeling passionately about giving in order to help others. Philanthropy certainly has financial components, but it also requires a personal investment in an organization or issue in order to make a lasting social change. TL: How can we ensure that Mr. George’s legacy of philanthropy continues into the next generation? AFP: Mr. George’s legacy of philanthropy will continue if we ensure that we teach our children the importance of community involvement and service. When parents provide their children opportunities to explore their passions and to engage in causes tied to these passions, children begin to learn how important giving back really is. Philanthropy starts in the heart; when families engage in the work of building passionate and strong hearts — around the dinner table, in the community, at school, at bedtime, at the grocery
store. Heartwork is done in small moments, in the normal, mundane life moments available to us all. Mr. George’s philanthropic spirit starts at home and will grow outward from the passionate hearts we build. TL: What inspired AFP to set aside a day to honor this community’s very special philanthropists? AFP: National Philanthropy Day® is both an official day and a grassroots movement. Every year since 1986 when President Ronald Reagan first proclaimed November 15 as National Philanthropy Day®, communities across the globe have celebrated by hosting events to recognize activities of donors, volunteers, foundations, leaders, corporations, and others engaged in philanthropy. It’s part of our larger organization but also because we believe in philanthropy, and we want to recognize and honor those who have made an impact on our community. TL: Do you think we’ll be surprised by any of the nominations? AFP: Yes and no. We hope that the unsung philanthropic individuals who give so much to our community will have a moment to be appreciated and shine. We want to tell their stories and the stories of the lives they have touched. In a community this size we will have overlap in the number of nominations a person, couple, or organization will receive. But, we are excited to see those who we aren’t as aware of, such as the Youth in Philanthropy or the Volunteer of the Year.
Friday, November 7, 2014 LTB Lakeland Campus/Polk State College 7:30 a.m./ Registration 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m./National Philanthropy Day® Breakfast The Greater Polk Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals will honor community heroes in the following categories: • Philanthropist of the Year • Philanthropic Corporation of the Year • Philanthropic Small Business of the Year • Spirit of Philanthropy • Volunteer of the Year in Philanthropy • Youth in Philanthropy For more information on the event, please visit afppolk.afpnet.org/.
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THE ART OF
CONNECT AND BE CONNECTED, LOVE AND BE LOVED, KNOW AND BE KNOWN
BY JASON DEMEO PHOTOGRAPHY BY PENNY & FINN
My wife, Hillary, and I have lived in Lakeland for nearly 10 years. With the love bugs hassling us and the July heat threatening to melt the tires off our car, in the beginning we thought we might end up in another city. Atlanta, Nashville, and Austin were vying for our attention, but a decade in Lakeland was unlikely. Much to our surprise, however, we have fallen in love with this charming city, and 10 years later we’re still here. And, it’s all because of community.
Enjoying a healthy community has not always CULTURE
been an easy concept for me. As an introvert, I enjoy spending time by myself, thinking, reading, or creating. Hillary, on the other hand, is an extrovert. She likes to say that she likes people, and I like books about people. Truly, Hillary has helped me grow in my understanding, appreciation, and love for community. Fortunately for me, years ago, Hillary convinced me to become part of a small group of Lakelanders, to build a support network and get to know people beyond a surface, smalltalk level. We chose to do this by joining a “LifeGroup” at our church. This experience allowed me to get to know a bunch of caring and passionate people who wanted to share in my joys and struggles, to help me become the best “me” I could be. While at times it was a stretch, I grew to love and appreciate the people in my group and found them to be great allies in my life. Making the effort to join with a small group of people to “do life” together was one of the best decisions I have made. Out of that group came some of my best friends and the job I currently have, where I help to oversee all of the LifeGroups at our church and help people share in community with one another. Talk about full circle for this introvert!
WHEN IT COMES TO LOVING WHERE YOU LIVE, HALF THE BATTLE IS CLAIMING YOUR CITY AS YOUR OWN AND INVESTING YOUR HEART IN IT.
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HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR GROWING YOUR COMMUNITY IN LAKELAND
• WRITE A LETTER TO SOMEONE WHO HAS IMPACTED YOUR LIFE. TELL THEM HOW MUCH THEY MEAN TO YOU. • INVITE A FRIEND TO TAKE IN AN ART EXHIBIT AT THE POLK MUSEUM OF ART. DISCUSS IT. • CONVINCE A FRIEND TO JOIN THE YMCA WITH YOU. • TAKE A FRIEND OUT FOR COFFEE. ASK THEM ABOUT THEIR PASSIONS. • TAKE A GROUP OF PEOPLE SWIMMING AT KELLY RECREATION CENTER. • GET INVOLVED WITH A LOCAL CHURCH. • SET ASIDE A TIME EACH WEEK TO CONNECT WITH A FRIEND, EITHER ON THE PHONE OR FACE-TOFACE. • WALK LAKE HOLLINGSWORTH WITH A FRIEND. • READ THE LAKELANDER TO STAY UP-TO-DATE ON WHAT’S GOING ON IN LAKELAND! • HOST A NEIGHBORHOOD COOKOUT. • INVITE A NEIGHBOR OVER FOR DINNER. • GO TO FIRST FRIDAY OR LAST FRIDAY. • TAKE A CAMPING TRIP WITH YOUR FAMILY OR “FRAMILY.” • SHOP LOCALLY OWNED BUSINESSES TO SUPPORT YOUR COMMUNITY. • GET INVOLVED WITH LOCAL POLITICS. VOTE. • START A BOOK-DISCUSSION GROUP. MEET REGULARLY. • EAT DINNER IN A HOME, AT A TABLE, WITH PEOPLE YOU LOVE ON A REGULAR BASIS. • INVITE NEW FRIENDS OVER FOR A GAME NIGHT. • FIND AN ORGANIZATION DOING WORK THAT YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT. VOLUNTEER WITH THEM. • JOIN A SPORTS LEAGUE.
Lakeland inspires in me the very definition of community: “A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” (Oxford Dictionary.) When I play tennis at Edgewood Park or stop by the Polk Museum of Art, I feel community. When I watch the fireworks at Lake Mirror, or when I run Lake Hollingsworth, I become part of this city. When I am at Catapult with like-minded entrepreneurs, or when I walk my dog, Maggie Roo, downtown during First Friday, Lakeland is my city. When I go to a Lakeland High School football game, step on campus at Southeastern University or Florida Southern College, when I spend time at Oasis Community Church with people who have become my “framily” (friends who have become family), the community that is Lakeland permeates throughout. I’ve thought long and hard about what makes Lakeland so special and have arrived at several conclusions. Our motto, “Close to everything… away from it all,” nails it. We have the sense of a small-town life and access to big-city amenities. In Lakeland, it’s tough to go somewhere and not run into someone you know. Lakeland is home to many people who have invested fully in building community, including Mr. George Jenkins. His impact is everywhere. His spirit and legacy abound in all corners of Lakeland. Mr. George’s philosophy led him to create a culture at his company where employees were too valuable to be called just employees; they were always associates. His values of “Investing in Others” and “Respecting the Dignity of the Individual” were guiding principles that turned the workplace into a vibrant community. The George Effect, Mr. George’s lasting legacy of appreciation and care for others, has in many ways shaped the Lakeland we know and love today. He invested fully in his company, his family, friends, and surrounding community. Lakelanders feel the effects of his legacy while shopping at Publix, spending time at Barnett Park, or enjoying many of the buildings and amenities at Florida Southern College.
INVEST IN THE RELATIONSHIPS AROUND YOU, AND YOU WILL FIND YOURSELF HAPPIER AND MORE DRAWN TO THE PLACE WHERE YOU LIVE.
left to right: Abby Jarvis, Dave Walter, Sean Hults, Tara Campbell, Elizabeth Hults
I love our downtown Lakeland motto, “Rich Traditions, Artful Energy,” and I would include our community as one of the greatest pieces of art Lakeland has to offer. While Lakeland, like all cities, certainly has its struggles, we have refined the art of community. Lakelanders know how to share life together, to support each other, and how to come together as a community for the common good. Lakeland isn’t the perfect city, but it is our city. When it comes to loving where you live, half the battle is claiming your city as your own and investing your heart in it. The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of community goes on to say that it is, “joint ownership or liability,” which means it’s a two-way street. I have heard it said that if you want to be interesting, be interested. And while that is a great maxim for relationships, it also applies to the place you call home. If you begin to get interested in
the community that is available in Lakeland, Lakeland in turn will become an exciting and interesting place for you to live. According to a 2010 study that tracked more than 300,000 people for an average of 7.5 years, “Individuals with adequate social relationships have a 50% greater likelihood of survival compared to those with poor or insufficient social relationships.” Social relationships were found to be just as important to longevity as quitting smoking. Social relationships have a more intense effect on health than avoiding obesity. Although we live in a hyper-connected society, our connectivity doesn’t necessarily mean that we are a part of a life-giving community. Researchers suggest that, “despite increases in technology and globalization that would presumably foster social connections, people are becoming increasingly more socially isolated.”
Even though the quantity of our social “connections” may be increasing, the quality of them, unfortunately, seems to be decreasing. People, for the most part, take risk factors such as smoking, diet, and exercise seriously. It’s time we added community and social relationship factors to that list. If we want to have good relationships, we need to foster a positive attitude. One thing that has been found to increase mood, outlook, and mental health is sunshine. With Lakeland coming in well above the national average for days of sunlight each year, you have another factor working in your favor! In Lakeland, there’s no reason to be isolated; it’s full of opportunities for community. Invest in the relationships around you, and you will find yourself happier and more drawn to the place where you live. And, as a bonus, you just might add a few years to your life.
MR. GEORGEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S FAVORITE MEAL A reason to gather
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From my early childhood, through my school years, and even now in my parentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; home and in my own home, one constant always holds true: family dinner is essential. I grew up with a dinnertable reflex; every evening around 6:00 p.m. or so, my body would automatically lurch toward the kitchen table. A meal shared each day between everyone living under one roof was not a hard-andfast rule; it just was the way it was. Eating supper together with my parents and my big brother was my sanctuary, a time and place of great security. No matter how difficult the day may have gone for any of us, we still got to have that small portion of our waking hours to eat good home cooking and share time with the faces we adored. If something great had happened, rest assured the dinner table was where the news would be broken. It was around the dinner table during suppertime with my immediate and extended family where my wife and I announced we were expecting our first and only son. And, it will again be a place and time to meet for other similarly joyous revelations between loved ones in the future.
We resolutely believe that eating a meal together regularly as a family, no matter the dynamic, can greatly improve the quality of our lives and of those with whom we share it. There is a steadfast guarantee that if you devote yourself to making time for family meals, even if it’s just one day a week, you will hear newly told stories, learn new things, and share a deeper bond for one another, all while (hopefully) eating really scrumptious fare. Many Lakelanders have come to claim Publix as their own on behalf of their city. But, thinking that Publix began in Lakeland is a common misnomer. The first store was actually opened in our neighboring Winter Haven. Mr. George wasn’t even a Florida native. But then again, neither are a lot of Lakelanders. Mr. George developed a love for this community so much that it ended up becoming home to his empire and the roots of his personal family tree. It has been said, “Sharing a meal is the salt of a community. It seasons relationships and is a vehicle to preserve the community’s values and memory.” I find no greater source of community than that of my family, as did Mr. George. He was part of a large family, typical of the 1950s and 1960s. Sharing meals together around the dinner table was also typical of the times. In Mr. George’s home, this meant all children would be present at the dinner table like clockwork, to be seated at 6:00 p.m. sharp. The family enjoyed simple meals, such as fried chicken with mashed potatoes, pork chops with gravy, hamburgers or hotdogs, liver and onions, etc. Vegetables were a must, as were “fish and grits” on Friday. It should be noted that Mr. George did love to splurge with
a lobster once a year, on his birthday; however, this habit only began when he was well into his 70s. Of course, all items were purchased at the neighborhood Publix. For our Tasteful tribute to Mr. George, his family, and to those who still foster a sense of community around the dinner table, we crafted a meal we think he would have loved. Main Course: We would be hard-pressed to find a household in Lakeland that hasn’t enjoyed the delicious convenience of a Publix friedchicken dinner. With this as inspiration, we brined, hand battered, then fried fresh chicken. Sides: Mr. George was a true Southerner, so we paired the chicken with classic mashed potatoes and other Southern vegetable-based dishes, like collard greens and cornbread, to go along with his meal. The Splurge: We incorporated a butter-poached lobster tail into a spicy Southern gumbo. Reflecting on what else I personally enjoy at Publix lent a hand when deciding on a simple and fitting dessert. As a child, I would sit in the cart while my mother shopped for our weekly groceries at the old Searstown Publix store (as I can recall, it was the store with the bountiful cornucopia mosaic on the front facade.) She always took me to the bakery to choose a cookie, as long as I was well-behaved. I always picked the sugar cookie with the chocolate dot in the middle. The technical term in Spanish is tortica de moron; and Publix still sells them at select stores. We hope you will use these recipes as a reason to gather with those you love, to share a meal, and to love being part of this community.
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DOUBLE BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN WITH HONEY LEMON DRIZZLE
First, break down a whole chicken into separate pieces (or buy one prebutchered), making sure to leave the skin intact. Additionally, halve each individual breast so you end up with 10 total pieces. Place in a large, sealable plastic bag or container. Place the following items in the bag or container with the chicken and let sit for at least four hours in the refrigerator. (For better results allow 12-24 hours.) Remove the chicken and pat dry, then set aside. 2 cups buttermilk 2 cups room-temperature water 1/8 cup of honey 8 sage leaves 2 sprigs each of rosemary and thyme (plus extra for garnish) 1 head of garlic, cut in half 1/4 cup salt 1 tsp ground pepper Juice and zest of 2 lemons Mix together the following, and equally divide into two shallow bowls: 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 Tbsp garlic powder 1 Tbsp onion powder 3 tsp All-Seasons salt 2 tsp smoked paprika 2 tsp black pepper In a separate mixing bowl, mix together the following ingredients. Place the bowl on your prep surface between the two bowls of seasoned flour. 2 cups buttermilk 1 cup half-and-half cream Juice and zest of 1 lemon 1/2 tsp All-Seasons salt 5 dashes of Crystal hot sauce Coat each piece of chicken with flour, shake off excess, then dip in the buttermilk, and finally dip in the second dish of flour. Shake off excess, then set aside for about 15 minutes before frying. Repeat until all the chicken is prepared. To fry, pour about 2 inches worth of oil into a large, deep-sided, cast-iron skillet or large pot, or use a small personal fryer up to its specified amount (about 1/2 to 1 gallon). Peanut oil or a mild-flavored vegetable-based cooking oil is preferred. Heat oil until a thermometer reaches 320 degrees F. Carefully and slowly place chicken into oil, making sure to not splatter. Also, do not overcrowd your cooking surface. Cook for 13-15 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F. Remove cooked pieces and place on a wire rack lined with paper towels. To make the honey lemon drizzle: 1 cup honey Juice of 2 lemons plus zest from 1 lemon 1Â˝ tsp ground mixed or black pepper 3 dashes of Crystal hot sauce Pour all items into a sealable jar, then close and shake until well mixed. Use a spoon to drizzle desired amount onto the chicken. Sprinkle torn bits of the reserved rosemary and thyme sprigs onto the chicken.
ROBUCHON-INSPIRED MASHED POTATOES I’ve adapted this from a memory of the best potatoes I’ve ever eaten. The biggest problem with the original is the time-consuming technique, as well as the ungodly amount of butter that it called for. This is considerably lighter and requires far fewer kitchen tools. The only item you may need to purchase is a serviceable food mill which can be found at your local Crowder Bros. Ace Hardware store. Four simple ingredients is all it takes! 2 pounds gold potatoes 1/2 cup half-and-half cream 2 sticks unsalted butter Salt Pepper, to taste Peel potatoes. Roughly dice into 1-inch cubes and place in a large pot of tepid water. After all of the potatoes are chopped, place pot on a burner at high heat. Once water begins to boil, add a pinch of salt and boil for an additional 5 minutes. Lower the temperature to simmer. Add 1/4 cup of the cream and cook 10 more minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Remove from heat, but keep the burner on Low. Strain out the liquid by placing potatoes in a colander, then turn through a food mill, quickly working the potatoes back into the pot. In stages, add butter, about 2 Tbsp per addition, until each pat is completely melted, leaving 2 Tbsp for the final touch. Next, very slowly stir in the cream until incorporated thoroughly. Add salt to taste and place potatoes in a serving bowl. Dab the remaining butter atop the final product, allowing pools of melted butter to form. Finish with a pinch more salt and a turn or two of fresh cracked pepper. GARLICKY COLLARDS 2 bunches of collard greens (washed, with ribs removed and cut into thick chiffonade) 1 head of garlic, finely minced Juice from 1 lemon 2 Tbsp olive oil Salt In a large sauté pan, heat oil on Med-High until you see slight whiffs of smoke appear, then immediately add the greens. It might look like they won’t all fit, but don’t worry, everything will shrink down. Let sit for about a minute, then toss. Lower heat to Medium, then add garlic and a few sprinkles of salt. Continue to toss until tender for about 3 minutes. Squeeze the lemon juice right into the pan just before serving. FRESH CORN SPOONBREAD Spoonbread is a cornmeal-based, pudding-like hybrid. If you’re weary of your cornbread always turning out too dry and crumbly, this is the answer. 1 cup plain yellow cornmeal 1 cup half-and-half cream 6 Tbsp butter (4 melted, 2 chilled) 1 Tbsp sugar 1/4 tsp salt 2 ears of corn, shucked and kernels cut off the cob 2 eggs, separated Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Place a large pie plate or baking dish inside the oven to warm up. In a large skillet or pot, heat 2 cups of water and the cornmeal over Med-High heat. Whisk constantly for about 5 minutes, then turn off heat. Slowly add the cream, then the melted butter as well as sugar and salt. Set aside. Put the separated eggs into 2 separate bowls. Whisk the yolks until well blended, and then whisk the whites until soft peaks form. Temper the yolks with 1/4 of the cornmeal batter so they do not scramble, then pour the yolks into the remaining batter. Stir in the fresh corn, and fold in the egg whites until just barely mixed. Remove the pie plate or baking dish from the oven. Add the final 2 Tbsp of butter. After the butter has sizzled and turned golden brown, immediately add the batter. Place into oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. The batter will rise slightly and crisp around the edges, while resembling the texture of bread pudding or soufflé in the middle. Remove from the oven and let cool before serving. See more recipes from this menu on thelakelander.com. 66
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Friday, October 31 • 8:00 am–1:30 pm • Lake Mirror Auditorium Featuring keynote speaker Rick Baker, former mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida, and author of The Seamless City, a special presentation honoring architect Robert M. Stern, and market overviews from experts in industrial, office, retail, and residential real estate.
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7/14/14 1:16 67 PM THE LAKELANDER
I T MO N O I L T A OYV ALTY And
The president of Publix gives us his recipe for success BY ADAM SPAFFORD PHOTOS PROVIDED BY PUBLIX
Founded by George Jenkins in 1930 and headquartered in Lakeland since 1951, Publix has grown into the largest employee-owned grocery chain in the United States, with 168,500 employees, 1,077 stores, 8 distribution centers, 10 manufacturing facilities, and $29 billion in sales. The Lakelander: We would be hard-pressed to find someone whose story better represents our theme of motivation and loyalty. Your career at Publix has spanned more than 30 years. Tell us about your professional journey. Todd Jones: I began my career in 1980 as a front-service clerk in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. I worked in a variety of store positions before becoming a store manager in 1988. In 1997, I was promoted to district manager, regional director in 1999, and vice president of the Jacksonville division in 2003. In 2005, I was promoted to senior vice president — product business development. And in March 2008, I was promoted to my current position of president. TL: What about Publix made you stay? TJ: I have always seen Publix as a place of opportunity for those who work hard. I understood Publix’s philosophy of promotion from within, and I knew I could make a career here. Retail was in my blood, and I was passionate about serving people as I had witnessed it early in my career. I had
the privilege of meeting Mr. George. I can recall the day when he provided me with his phone number followed by these words: “If there ever comes a time when you can’t take care of our customers or don’t have time for our associates, call me. I will.” TL: It seems that many associates feel the same way. Tell us about the remarkably long tenure of the company’s employeeowners. TJ: In 2014, we had more than 19,400 associates celebrating their service awards (in five-year increments) at Publix, and of those, 2,748 were celebrating more than 20 years of service with us. What’s even more amazing is that the average tenure for a Publix store manager is 25.8 years. Our culture of promotion from within coupled with associate ownership creates skin in the game for our associates. It’s a sense of accountability and responsibility for our success. There’s not one single area of the business that is more important than the next. We work cross-functionally to provide service to our customers, internal and external.
Our CEO, Ed Crenshaw, has a theory. If you come to work and make it past your 90 days, more than likely you’ll be here for your first anniversary. If you’re here on your first anniversary, you’ll likely be here to celebrate your third anniversary. And if you’re here for your third anniversary, we’ve got you! Our associates are the key to our success. They are the secret sauce. It can’t be replicated; it’s unique to our company. TL: A few years ago you were quoted as saying, “Never forget where you came from.”1 How does this philosophy help you lead the company and serve customers? TJ: In order to lead an agile and effective team, you need to have an understanding of the people, the processes, and have a shared vision of the company strategy. As president, I advocate for my retail store teams. I remember each lesson I learned every step of the way, from my days as a part-time front service clerk to becoming store manager. I recognize what we’re asking our retail teams to execute on each and every day as we go to business, and I place myself in their shoes.
This allows me to better understand the tools, training, and talent that it will take to provide the best shopping experience for our customers. Being able to relate to our associates is vitally important to our success. TL: What makes Mr. George’s “people-first culture,”2 which has served the company well in response to increased competition and economic weakness, so effective? TJ: If we take care of our associates, our associates will take care of our customers. It’s that simple. Our people are the single most important differentiator. We have a culture of service to our customers, to each other, and to the communities we serve. For almost 85 years, we’ve remained committed to making Publix a great place to work and shop. TL: Publix has not only innovated in the traditional grocery business but has also created complementary operations such as Greenwise and Aprons. What are some current and upcoming projects? TJ: I always use the example of “The Essence of Survival.” “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed… every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it
must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle…when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” So each new day we face new challenges and opportunities. But we always keep in mind that we are here to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers. So whether we’re looking to solve the “What’s for dinner question?” by providing meal solutions, or teaching our customers how to cook with our Publix Aprons Cooking Schools, or looking to save our customers time with Publix Deli Online Easy Ordering, or if we’re looking to bring new and innovative products to our shelves, we’re doing it so that our customers look to Publix. Over the years, we’ve introduced a multitude of innovation and convenience, including Publix Pharmacy, Publix Liquors, Publix Sabor, and we look ahead to evolving technologies and how we continue to best serve our customers. Also worth noting is our extended selection of natural and organic products, and convenience items such as chef selections, hot and cold food bars, soups, hot sandwiches, expanded-service cheese. We are also expanding our Event Planning services to make every occasion special for our customers.
TL: What are the lessons learned from projects that didn’t succeed? TJ: There are always lessons to learn. We incorporate operational feedback, associate feedback, customer feedback, and determine what were the obstacles to success. We don’t get caught up in the “it didn’t work” mode, but rather, how can we make it work next time around. Sometimes we’re ahead of the curve and time, and at other points, it just wasn’t a product or service that resonated well with the customer. As long as we learned, there’s a degree of success. TL: Besides business and department operations, what does an employee-owner learn working in the Publix culture? TJ: We learn people first. We learn family. We learn that that Publix becomes our extended family. We learn hard work, dedication, commitment, responsibility, and personal accountability. I believe that because this is our extended family, I have a great responsibility to serve. It’s amazing to me to hear and see how many people worked at Publix as their first job and still today remember our culture and the small things that made the most impact in their lives.
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LOYALTY IS EARNED. IT’S DOING THE THINGS YOU SAY YOU’RE DOING EVEN WHEN FOLKS AREN’T LOOKING. IT’S DOING THE THINGS THAT WILL HAVE THE GREATEST GOOD FOR THE GROUP. IT’S RESPECTING DIFFERENCES. UNDERSTANDING THAT WE EACH BRING SOMETHING TO THE TABLE THAT HAS BEEN SHAPED BY THE INDIVIDUAL’S EXPERIENCES.
TL: In addition to being a great place to work and shop, Publix has contributed even more to the Lakeland community — parks, food programs for those in need, even the Publix Commons dorms at Florida Southern that I called home for several years. What’s the motivation for such generosity? TJ: We learned from our founder, the late George Jenkins. He was once asked what he thought he would be worth had he not given so much of his money away. And he humbly replied, “Probably nothing.” It is our culture. Our associates are passionate about service whether in our stores or in our communities. We volunteer our time, our talents, and our dollars. I am proud of our associates and the countless organizations we serve as a Publix family. TL: In what ways can Lakeland’s community inspire motivation and engender loyalty in the way that Publix culture does for customers and employee-owners? TJ: Loyalty is earned. It’s doing the things you say you’re doing even when folks aren’t looking. It’s doing the things that will have the greatest good for the group. It’s respecting differences. Understanding that we each bring something to the table that has been shaped by the individual’s experiences. It’s valuing those differences. It’s recognizing that healthy conflict is a good thing. It’s important to remember the past. Enjoy the moment. And look to the bright future ahead.
1. Kennedy, Kyle. The Lakeland Ledger Online. theledger.com/article/20101015/NEWS/10155070 2. S olomon, Brian. forbes.com. forbes.com/sites/briansolomon/2013/07/24/the-wal-mart-slayer-how-publixs-people-first-culture-is-winning-the-grocer-war/
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THE TRUTH ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP Lakeland entrepreneurs open up about the challenges and rewards of running your own business
by Jarrett Smith | photography by Dustin Prickett
t’s hard to overstate America’s love affair with the entrepreneur. From our elementary school lessons about the Pilgrims and the industrious immigrants of the 19th century, to the modern-day celebration of innovators like Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos, it’s safe to say that we’ve been thoroughly indoctrinated into the cult of the entrepreneur. In recent years, it seems the idolization of entrepreneurs has experienced a new burst of energy. This is especially true of the go-it-alone, against-all-odds kind of entrepreneurship popularized by movies like The Social Network and The Pursuit of Happyness and exalted in breezy speeches by moguls like Richard Branson and Gary Vaynerchuck. But, it’s hard to say what someone like George Jenkins would think about the romanticized brand of entrepreneurship promoted by today’s media. Without question, Jenkins’ own entrepreneurial experience had all the hallmarks of grit, risk, and sheer determination we’ve come to celebrate, but viewed by themselves, these qualities form an incomplete picture and cause us to overlook the less glamorous realities and sacrifices of everyday entrepreneurship. By many measures, starting a business is easier than it’s ever been. As Steve Scruggs, executive director of the Lakeland Economic Development Council (LEDC) points out, “It takes less capital to start up a business today than any time in the history of the world.” According to Scruggs, entrepreneurship’s recent surge in popularity is the result of several factors. First, during the economic meltdown of 2008, many workers found themselves out of work and with few prospects for re-employment. As a result, people who otherwise wouldn’t have started their own businesses, began to see self-employment as an option. Scruggs also points to the role of the Internet and its related technologies. “Computers and the Internet have changed the world and significantly lowered the barriers to entry to start a business, from access to capital to creating a product in a short time frame.” And it’s hard to argue against Scrugg’s point. Using online services like Shopify, Squarespace, and Etsy, entrepreneurs can begin selling their products online in the time it takes to register a website and upload photos. Even raising capital — historically one of the most difficult barriers to starting a business — has been revolutionized. Through crowd-funding websites like Kickstarter, Peerbackers, and Indiegogo, would-be entrepreneurs and innovators can pitch their ideas to the masses in the hopes of raising funds. According to Kickstarter’s website, in 2013 the platform was used to gather over $480 million in pledges from approximately 3 million people, resulting in 19,911 successfully funded projects. To date, 1,395 Kickstarter projects have raised over $100,000, and 78 have raised over $1,000,000. Finally, Scruggs points to a broader mainstream acceptance of entrepreneurship as a viable means of employment. “Over 2,000 post-secondary institutions offer entrepreneurship and small business certificates,” he explains, “which is up over 900 percent from 10 years ago. Also, people perceive that being their own boss is attractive.”
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NO FREE RIDES While starting a business may be easier than in the past, it’s still not easy. Sobering data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that only about half of new businesses survive longer than five years, and only a third will make it 10 years or longer. Entrepreneurial success, it seems, depends on an elusive, almost mysterious, cocktail of factors, not the least of which is the would-be entrepreneur’s work ethic and ability to recover from setbacks. Todd Baylis is president and co-founder of Qgiv and Cipher Integrations, two established and growing technology start-ups here in Lakeland. A Lakeland native, Todd started Cipher Integrations while in high school and eventually spun-off Qgiv as a stand-alone company when he realized Cipher’s clients needed an online platform for collecting donations. “I don’t think entrepreneurship is for everyone,” Todd says. “A lot of times we only celebrate the people who are successful, so it kind of looks like professional baseball. We only see the major league players, but for every one major league player there are a hundred laying in waste. Starting a business is stressful, and there are huge risks.” That sentiment is echoed by Joshua Watson, CEO and founder of IronRock Software, a three-year old software consultancy based out of Catapult, the Lakeland Economic Development Council’s co-working space, located in downtown Lakeland. “It’s not as easy as it looks,” Watson says. “I had several products that flopped before they even got off the ground. You can’t pack up your ball and go home the first time something doesn’t work out.” Even when an entrepreneur has identified a product or service with enough demand to sustain a business, the challenges aren’t over. As Steve Madden, founder of Madden Branded Goods and Madden Brand Agency, recounts, “One of the biggest challenges was just getting large prospects and major suppliers to take you seriously when you’re in your early twenties.” Madden goes on to explain how in the early days of Madden Branded Goods, he’d just moved his business out of his house and into a 6x10 closet on the fourth floor of his father’s commercial real-estate office. “Miraculously, we’d made the final cut of three suppliers bidding on a mid-six-figure opportunity. One day the bathrooms were out on the fourth floor, and while I was downstairs using the bathroom, the buyer called. Since I was out, my dad’s secretary answered the phone and explained I was on the second floor and would be back to the fourth floor soon. The buyer commented that he didn’t realize we were that large and he would look for my return call.” While Madden’s company would eventually finish second in the bid, he cites the incident as an important and valuable lesson on the role of perception when courting larger clients. 78
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NO ENTREPRENEUR IS AN ISLAND Popular culture often celebrates the image of the lone entrepreneur who somehow manages to succeed against all odds, but the reality is that the skills necessary to start and grow a company are rarely contained in just one person. This is true even of some of our most revered entrepreneurs. Yes, Walt Disney may have dreamt of building castles, but it was his brother Roy who ensured they got built. Steve Jobs may have been a visionary marketer, but it was Steve Wozniak who created the technology Jobs would popularize. “It just cracks me up to hear so many entrepreneurs using the words ‘I’ or ‘me’ when they talk about their success,” Madden says. “Sure, they may have had the initial vision, but without a dedicated, talented team around them, things never would have played out in their favor.” For Baylis and Watson, finding great business partners who possess a complementary skill set has been hugely important. “I was a great geek, but I didn’t understand sales,” Watson says. “You need someone who’s not the same as you.”
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“You can’t do it yourself,” Baylis explains. “You have to find people that compensate for you and that you compensate for. Someone else who says ‘I’m all in too.’ It’s kind of like choosing your spouse.” Beyond the business partners and employees who work within the entrepreneur’s business on a daily basis, Baylis, Madden, and Watson also point to having a larger network of mentors and business professionals as a critical factor for long-term success. “There’s a real sense of community in Lakeland,” Madden says, “and just as importantly, there’s an abundance of mentors.” Both Watson and Baylis also point to the LEDC’s Catapult project as an important avenue for connecting entrepreneurs to a larger network of people who can help them. “Lakeland wants to support entrepreneurs,” Baylis says, “but historically, there hasn’t been a way to connect people and resources. Catapult has started to change that.”
PERSISTING DESPITE THE CHALLENGES Despite the significant challenges facing entrepreneurs, data from the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity indicates that roughly 476,000 new business owners were minted every month in 2013. “I just knew that corporate America wasn’t for me, and I liked being in control,” says Riko Ramos, owner of No Boring Concrete, a decorative concrete business that was recently featured on DIY Network’s Blog Cabin 2014. For Ramos, starting his business created the opportunity to work in a manner consistent with his ideas and expectations. “I was always too boisterous,” he says, “and I spoke up when I felt things were wrong. And, I was always thinking about how I was putting my ideas into someone
The George Effect is alive and well in the entrepreneurial spirit of Lakeland. The product still matters. The people still matter. The countless days and nights of unglamorous toil still matter. And yes, so does the grit, pluck, and sheer force of will of the entrepreneur.
else’s business.” Still, Ramos is quick to point out that with great freedom comes great responsibility. He says, “People think that [owning your own business] means you can get up and do whatever you want, but if you’re serious about what you want to do, you’re going to get up and find unique ways to make it happen.” For Matthew Wengerd, owner of A Fine Press, a three-and-a-half-year-old printing business specializing in hand-crafted letterpress invitations, it’s partly about a sense of independence but also about a deep appreciation for the work. “My professional life has either been on the bandstand or in front of a computer,” Wengerd says. “I needed work where I had physical problems to solve. It presents a lot of physical problems that I’ve found gratifying. It’s cathartic.”
LESSONS FROM THE TRENCHES Like other battle-worn entrepreneurs, Lakeland’s don’t shy away from giving away advice to aspiring entrepreneurs. Grounded in hard-earned, personal experiences, they each point to lasting lessons they learned along the way. For Ramos and Wengerd, it’s about maintaining a keen focus on the quality of their craft. “You’re only as good as your last job,” cautions Ramos. “You’ve got to treat your customer like they are everything, and you’ve got to give it your best, because that could be your next job from their referral.” Those sentiments are echoed by Wengerd as well. “You’ve got to be ready when the President calls,” says Wengerd, who was recently commissioned by The Knot magazine to create invitations for their annual gala in New York.
And while Watson and Baylis place a high importance on serving customers, they also emphasize the importance of taking smart, calculated risks. “Get everything in writing, and get a good accountant early on,” Watson says. “And don’t go all in until you’re sure you’ve got a good concept.” Baylis advises, “Honestly look at your idea, and then find small ways to test your idea, because the worst thing is a bad idea, or one you’re not ready to fully commit to.” For Madden, the ultimate lesson is remembering to take care of those around you. “Take care of your people,” he admonishes, “because they truly are your most important asset.” Unfortunately, today’s generation of rising entrepreneurs won’t have the benefit of encountering George Jenkins himself, to hear him impart wisdom and lessons from hard-fought experience. But, despite all the upheavals and new ways of doing business created by technology, it’s clear that many of the same principles that were foundational to his success are just as important today. The George Effect is alive and well in the entrepreneurial spirit of Lakeland. The product still matters. The people still matter. The countless days and nights of unglamorous toil still matter. And yes, so does the grit, pluck, and sheer force of will of the entrepreneur. 86
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FOSTERING INNOVATION IN THE WORKPLACE THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL ORGANIZATIONS BY TODD BAYLIS PHOTOS PROVIDED BY PUBLIX
George Jenkins opened his â&#x20AC;&#x153;Dreamstoreâ&#x20AC;? in 1940. The store was renowned for its automatic opening doors, the first to be installed in any grocery store.
The Dreamstore was designed to make shopping a pleasure, with in-store innovations such as air conditioning, specially designed cases, and wide aisles.
rganizations that donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t innovate are doomed to be surpassed and ultimately destroyed by those that do. Coined â&#x20AC;&#x153;creative destructionâ&#x20AC;? by the Austrian American economist Joseph Schumpeter, the market is constantly evolving and changing, which makes it necessary for organizations to evolve and change in response. While most know that innovation is necessary to adapt to these changing patterns, creating an environment that supports it within our organizations often seems like more of an ideal than a set of strategies upon which one can act. While I have come to believe that fostering innovation is more of an ongoing journey rather than a set of action steps, I also believe that there are some key elements that are necessary for leaders to understand and implement. One iconic company in our community has used those elements to not only adapt to the changing market, but also to thrive during the past 80-plus years. Our community only needs to look to Publix, and its founder George Jenkins, to help us understand how we too can foster innovation within our own companies and community.
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INNOVATION TAKES TIME
Throughout my early life, my father had a favorite saying: “An idea is rarely conceived and perfected at the same time.” When he uttered those words, I would inevitably show my annoyance and set out to prove him wrong. At the time, I failed to realize the wisdom in the lesson and have since come to understand that innovation is often a series of ideas, built one on top of another like the blocks of an arch. We obtain these building blocks through many thoughtful observations which we hypothesize, iterate, and test over a period of time. Creating an environment that supports innovation within our organizations takes time and patience. When you read the history of how Mr. George founded and opened the first Publix Super Market in 1940, it was an idea that took 10 years to develop into the innovation it became. The “food palace,” as it was described, was based on a very lofty vision and was seen as a true innovation, but ultimately it was built on many smaller, innovative ideas, including air conditioning; automatic doors; and a clean, friendly aesthetic. These concepts took years to develop and were the result of the first two stores Mr. George opened in the years preceding.
START SMALL AND BUILD ON SUCCESSFUL INITIATIVES
I believe that the 10 years that Mr. George spent conceptualizing the first two Publix Food Stores was a time of trial and error during which he worked to test his nascent ideas that eventually became the first Publix Super Market. During these formative years, it is likely he began to implement and prove — at least to himself — that the innovations he believed in could work on a larger scale.
Innovation is an iterative process, a process that consists of many rounds of trial and error that ultimately result in a revelation that refines an idea to a point at which it becomes practical in the real world. During this process, it is important to take each successive failure, learn from it, and try again. This often means it is better to execute small projects and see what works in order to learn along the way as opposed to spending huge amounts of time planning for scenarios that may not happen. Starting small also allows the innovator to experiment, to test an idea and discern if it might succeed or even fail — a scenario that excessive planning would not necessarily expose. In the end, the real trick is to recognize, through the many small failures, when it’s time to put an idea to rest and to move on to the next one.
CELEBRATE AND LEARN FROM FAILURE — IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN FREQUENTLY
There are many different views that encompass failure and address whether it is a necessary step in the creative process. When interviewing job candidates, we at QGiv and Cipher Integrations often ask this question: “Is it better to be overly creative and innovative in your approach to a problem, or better to be overly conservative and traditional? Why?” This question highlights our philosophy of problem solving: in failing and mistake-making, it is possible (and likely) that one will develop a better approach to the problem. This is something that a traditional approach most certainly would not develop. There is a relationship between innovation and failure. It follows, then, that if one does not allow for failure, one may likely never improve or find a better approach. We often hear of leaders not accepting failure, but failure is necessary for us to improve. Often, the greatest failure in one’s life can become
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the catalyst for their greatest success. This remains true in the business world — as long as we reflect on the failure and through this reflection learn how we can become better or improve. In order to truly create an organization and a culture that innovates, we must accept failure and even celebrate it if we fail in the right way. Mr. George understood this trade-off; he embraced failure and allowed it to grow into great success. Years ago, I remember Publix putting Chipotle-style burrito bars into a small selection of stores and testing the concept. Interestingly enough, within a year or two, they were nowhere to be found. This is a perfect example of starting small, seeing what happens, and then accepting (and even celebrating) failure. Looking back at the foundation story of Publix, one must take notice that Mr. George decided that the first two Publix Food Markets must be closed — a message to his organization that through failure, innovation can be born.
REDUCE UNNECESSARY STRESS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
One of Publix’s core values is being “dedicated to the dignity, value, and employment security of our associates.” While this may seem like a corporate platitude, it truly reflects the culture of Publix. In many ways this value reduces stress within the organization and ultimately leads to
an environment conducive to creativity, ideas, and innovation. Unnecessary stress, even in small doses, stifles a creative and innovative environment. While deadlines are necessary and are motivators, unnecessary stressors in the work environment can actually be counterproductive to creativity and innovation. When was the last time that you felt creative when someone was upset with you and you knew you had to address the situation? What if that situation was unnecessary and extraneous? Did you feel creative? Did you feel the creative focus and spirit? The answer is probably not. You were probably motivated to simply address the situation (or avoid it) and get away from the stressor as quickly as possible. Teams cannot be at their most creative points if there are multiple stressors exerting pressure. In fact, when presented with multiple stressors, teams are more likely to stick with conservative, traditional methods to solve a problem — which, as discussed earlier, makes it almost impossible to develop more innovative and efficient methods. Practically, this means that an organization must strive to eliminate day-to-day stressors, such as unnecessary policies and procedures, and implement programs such as flextime and team building. For team members that are in positions that require creativity and innovation, a simple deadline can be enough motivation to complete the project.
The birthday-cake water tower is a Lakeland-area landmark. It was a new direction for Publix innovations and was not erected solely for show. It can deliver 250,000 gallons of water per minute and, at the time, provided all the water needs for the Publix Industrial Center. The structure is 2.25 million pounds of steel with each eight-foot candle weighing 250 pounds.
By 1979, Publix Super Markets had more scanner-operated checkouts than all but two other grocery-store chains.
BUILD A CULTURE, AND HIRE A CREATIVE AND DIVERSE TEAM In order to build a truly innovative culture — a culture not dependent on oneself or any particular person — the team should be diverse in both demographics and training backgrounds. A diverse team is necessary in order to foster innovation, to effectively and efficiently create, test, and abandon ideas. It intrinsically follows that sustainable idea generation does not happen in a vacuum. Ideas must be more than one’s own; they must build on and support the ideas of others. This is true even if the idea is destined to fail, because it is through the process of failure that the idea may evolve into something truly innovative that can make a difference in the organization and in the real world. Publix thrives today because Mr. George built a culture and a team dedicated to innovation. Publix has built an empire around its culture of community service and its customers within that community. The phrase that Publix coined many years ago, “Where shopping is a pleasure,” may seem like a short, simple slogan, but it is much more than that. That motto required that Publix and Mr. George not only say that they created a pleasurable shopping experience, but that he and his employees truly embodied, practiced, and lived that ideal. When one looks back at Publix’s impressive history of success and the impact it has had in this community, it is hard to deny the continued drive to innovate and improve as an organization. Mr. George understood that innovation took time to develop; he understood that the process required small steps and failures along the way. That team and their successors ultimately passed along those values and created the thriving organization that we all know and love today. Using these ideas and their examples, we should all strive to build innovative organizations that can be a part of our community well into the future.
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Out and About
Exploring The George Effect on some of The Lakelanderâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s favorite parks and landmarks By Tina Sargeant and Alice V. Koehler
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Former Florida Governor Lawton Chiles, a beloved Lakeland native, once said of George Jenkins that he was “a true civic leader who had a deep dedication to improving our community.” Of Mr. George’s countless contributions to our city, some of the most cherished can be found in the gathering spaces, the parks, and the landmarks that Mr. George, his family, and his chief officers endowed to our city through his legacy of giving.
SOUTHGATE SHOPPING CENTER Photo: Tina Sargeant
In 1957, when shopping centers — multiple stores sharing a central parking lot — were still a new concept, most grocery chains opted to rent a space in a plaza. However, in true Jenkins fashion, Publix went beyond the norm and, instead, developed their own shopping centers. Southgate was among the earliest of its kind. The $1 million Southgate Shopping Center opened on Nov. 19, 1957, with 16 stores, on what was the edge of town. Its anchor store was, of course, a brand-new Publix and included Jenkins’ latest innovation, “The Danish Bakery.” The iconic 70-foot parabolic arch has become a symbol of “home” for many Lakelanders. The Southgate arch is part of Lakeland’s identity and is also a big claim to fame. Not every town can tout a neighborhood shopping center made famous by a cameo appearance in the 1990 Tim Burton film Edward Scissorhands.
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Photo: Jason Stephens Inspiring awe in Lakeland children since 1982, the Publix birthday-cake water tower (across from the old corporate office on George Jenkins Boulevard) is acclaimed as one of the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most unique water towers. We hear the candles even light up at night!
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Drawings from the Great Age of the American Automobile From the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 9.20.14 - 12.6.14
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BARNETT FAMILY PARK Photos: Tina Sargeant
Barnett Family Park is a powerful example of Lakelandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to blend all aspects of The George Effect. This park exists because of the seamless merging of philanthropy, leadership, community, innovation, and craftsmanship. Made possible by a major gift from Barney and Carol Jenkins Barnett, the park provides an inspirational gathering space for children and families on the beautiful shore of Lake Mirror.
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HOLLIS GARDENS Photos: Tina Sargeant
Through artful placement of both the natural vegetation and man-made structures, Hollis Gardens offers its visitors a reflective and breathtaking respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life. More than an acre of historical trees, flowering plants, herbs, and vegetables combine with thoughtfully constructed water pieces to create a peaceful space on the outskirts of Downtown Lakeland. The gardens were donated to the city by the Hollis family in 2000. Tour: visitcentralflorida.org/destinations/hollis-garden
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Photo: Tina Sargeant An original Frank Lloyd Wright design for the campus of Florida Southern College, the Water Dome was partially built in 1940s but took many years to come to life as it was originally intended. In 2007, when the technology and resources were finally available to complete construction, the Dome powered on and has been a community treasure ever since. Funds to revive the Florida Southern Water Dome were provided by Clayton Hollis, a Florida Southern graduate and current board trustee whose father was president of Publix Super Markets in the 1980s and 1990s.
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LAKELAND NEON by Alice V. Koehler
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Publix’s mastery of artful communication — from customer service and business practice to moving television commercials and print materials — set the bar for craftsmanship in our community and beyond. The roots of Publix’s creative team, a team that started out as a small sign shop where associates painted advertisements onto sign boards, are a testament to the company’s devotion to craftsmanship. In her collection, “Lakeland Neon,” Alison LaMons, this year’s Mayfaire-by-the-Lake People’s Choice Award artist, pays tribute to the creative culture of craftsmanship fostered by Mr. George and cultivated by the Publix team. Alison’s work “captures a sense of visual historical fiction as she portrays the spirit of the grand era of the neon sign (alisonstudios.com),” and merges new with old, the past with the present.
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ABOUT ALISON Alison Claire LaMons, 52, “Emerging Artist,” and homeschool mom of three, moved to Lakeland from Fort Lauderdale one decade ago and hasn’t looked back. Alison has lived, studied, and traveled extensively in Europe. Her studies included an internship with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy, and time at The Parsons School of Design in Paris. When she returned to the States, she graduated from Columbia International University where she focused on Biblical studies and theology. Somewhere in there, she also collected an Associate in Arts degree from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale (winning “Best Portfolio,” upon graduation), and spent 15 years working as an architectural designer and illustrator. Now, at long last, Alison is becoming the fine artist she has always wanted to be. You can find her at alisonstudios.com.
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G E N E R A T I O N s
Universal Studios National TV Commercial. Appearing in the Graceland National TV Show
Starring Role in the film Documentary on The Life of George Jenkins “Mr. George” Publix Supermarkets Founder.
Appearing in the National TV Show Graceland on the USA Network.
Appearing in the LaVoz TV Show
Nemours Children’s Hospital National TV Commercial.
Appearing in the New TV series being filmed in Key Largo
Appearing in the Graceland National TV Show and New TV Series being Filmed in Key Largo
Disney World National TV Commercial
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Michael A. Fettig Brent Meadows, CFP® Associate Vice President – Investments Vice President – Investments
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500 S. Florida Ave., Ste. 640 Lakeland, FL 33801 863-802-2400 meadowsseifertfettig.wfadv.com Investment and Insurance Products: NOT FDIC Insured NO Bank Guarantee MAY Lose Value Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Member SIPC, is a registered broker-dealer and a separate non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. © 2010, 2014 Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved. 0214-02717 [74029-v5] A1675 (1205637_395631) THE LAKELANDER 121
different. Go to the Drive-in! • • • • •
First-run movies Bright digital picture Double features Radio sound Swap Shop - Sat. & Sun.
NEW OPENINGS MAHAN’S EATERY
Date: Opened August 1 Location: 246 N. Kentucky Ave. Foreign and domestic cuisine
SABBY & KAY’S JEWELRY BOUTIQUE
Date: Opened August 2 Location: 412 Longfellow Blvd., Suite 4 Sabby & Kay’s Boutique is a mother/daughter team that brings ageless fashion jewelry to women, teens, and kids. Their experience gives the boutique a contemporary, Victorian, and eclectic style. They offer personal jewelry consultations, wedding jewels, bridal parties, and gift registry. Come by and shop in the store, or visit them online.
COMING SOON TOOJAY’S DELI
Date: Unknown Location: Oakbridge Square, Harden Blvd. For some time now, the hype for TooJay’s Deli coming to Lakeland has been a burning topic in many a Lakelander’s mind. Finally, after months of anticipation, construction has begun on the building that will eventually house the new and very popular delicatessen. An originally estimated opening in June was pushed back due to permitting issues but has now been resolved. TooJay’s plans to open its doors within the next few months.
KEKE’S BREAKFAST CAFÉ
4100 US 92 W, Lakeland 863-682-0849 See what hit movies are playing this week: SilverMoonDriveInTheatre.com
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Date: Late Summer/Early Fall Location: Merchants Walk Plaza, 3615 S. Florida Ave., Suite 110 Keke’s Breakfast Café, a Florida-based breakfast/brunch restaurant, will finally open its doors in Lakeland in the Merchants Walk Plaza. The restaurant will feature traditional breakfast items like waffles and fruit parfaits along with some interesting finds, including buffalo chicken omelettes and cheeseburger pressed-wraps.
Date: Late Fall Location: Dixieland, 119 Hillcrest Street Hillcrest Coffee, the soon-to-be-opening coffee shop in Dixieland, plans to feature two coffee bars, including a slow bar featuring cold brews, pour overs, and French-pressed coffee options. Also, look forward to hand-made chocolates, featured local artists, live music out on the back patio, and many other neat things from this highly anticipated coffee house.
THE STATIONERY LOFT
Date: Unknown Location: Downtown, Old Peacock Antiques location (next door)
LAKELAND BREWING CO.
Date: Est. Late Summer/Early Fall Location: Lake Mirror, old skate park location
MOVING SOON HAKA FITNESS
Date: Mid-November Location: 4626 Cleveland Heights Blvd. Haka Fitness, an extremely popular fitness facility in Lakeland, is moving to a new location come late fall. Owner Rebecca and her team says the new facility will be designed to fit the needs of their clients and their booming business. The new building will be located on Cleveland Heights Boulevard, exactly one mile south of the YMCA.
SPICE THAI AND SUSHI
Date: Unknown Location: old Peso’s Mexican Restaurant location, S. Florida Ave. A favorite Lakeland sushi spot, Spice Thai is moving in next to the new Popeye’s on S. Florida Avenue. Spice will be taking over the previous Peso’s Mexican Restaurant location. No word on a move-in date or reopening.
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Vicki Cornish, ARNP, Marcy Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Brien, Au.D., Ratnamani Lingamallu, M.D. and Maria Loza, Audiology Assistant please contact The Hearing Department
(863) 670-8549 Central Florida ENT Associates 515 E. Garden St. Lakeland, Fl 33805
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quality Only the finest meats, cheeses and vegetables are used to make our delicious classic italian dishes. Come enjoy.
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GEORGE AND ANNE JENKINS “This is one of my favorite photos of my parents. It was taken at a social function at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach during the Kennedy era.” — Carol Barnett
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EVENTS CALENDAR SEPTEMBER 20 – DECEMBER 6 FUTURE RETRO: DRAWINGS FROM THE GREAT AGE OF AMERICAN AUTOMOBILES Polk Museum of Art polkmuseumofart.org SEPTEMBER 21 CLASSIC FILM: THE TOWERING INFERNO Polk Theatre polktheatre.org SEPTEMBER 27 NATIONAL MUSEUM DAY Polk Museum of Art polkmuseumofart.org SEPTEMBER 28 CLASSIC FILM: ALICE DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE Polk Theatre polktheatre.org
OCTOBER 3 FIRST FRIDAY Downtown downtownlakelandfl.com OCTOBER 5 PC BRIDAL EXHIBIT The Lakeland Center thelakelandcenter.com
OCTOBER 17 LAKE MIRROR CLASSIC AUTO FESTIVAL Lake Mirror Promenade lakelandchamber.com/events OCTOBER 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26 AND 31 THE ADDAMS FAMILY Lakeland Community Theater lakelandcommunitytheater.com
OCTOBER 9 FOOD TRUCK RALLY Downtown tampabayfoodtruckrally.com
OCTOBER 25 PINTS FOR PAWS LAKELAND The Lakeland Center thelakelandcenter.com
OCTOBER 10 CLASSIC ALBUMS LIVE PRESENTS THE BEATLES WHITE ALBUM The Lakeland Center thelakelandcenter.com
OCTOBER 25 MUNN PARK GARDEN EXTRAVAGANZA centralflorida.org
OCTOBER 12 ZOMBIE FEST Munn Park downtownlakelandfl.com
OCTOBER 25 RING OF HONOR WRESTLING The Lakeland Center thelakelandcenter.com
George W. Jenkins Lighthouse Ministries Legacy Donor
om Mr. (Early letter fr t of Jenkins in supporstries) Lighthouse Mini
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Thank you, Mr. George!
Back in 2006, Lighthouse Ministries, Inc. renamed its Center of Learning in honor of George W. Jenkins, founder of Publix Super Markets and a Lighthouse Ministries’ Legacy Donor. The George W. Jenkins Center of Learning wing within the Jay & Eloise Troxel Family Life Center contains the Adult Learning Center and Lighthouse Community Preschool. The Adult Learning Center provides ministry residents with educational services, while the preschool doubles as a resource for the mothers of young children residing in the program, as well as making a quality childcare option available to the community. His legacy of giving has continued through the George W. Jenkins Fund within the GiveWell Community Foundation, as well as Publix Super Markets Charities.
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Open House Wednesday, October 29 at 9am
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EXCEPTIONAL CARE • AWESOME RESULTS - SERVING LAKLANDERS SINCE 1979 -
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Lead Challenging StudentS to
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4620 4620 N. N. Socrum Socrum Loop Loop Rd.Rd. Lakeland, Lakeland, FL FL 33809 33809 863.577.0977 863.577.0977 • ALF# • ALF# 11995 11995 GraceManorLakeMorton.com GraceManorLakeMorton.com
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In this circa 1950s photo, a Publix associate stands in front of her cash register, ready to greet customers. photo from Publix archives
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RELAX, WE’LL TAKE IT FROM HERE. Autobody Ressurection
lifetime warranty certified GM • Chrysler • Ford • Infinity • Honda • Toyota
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Centered Around You The rough and tumble world of a teenager is enough to make any parent worried. But Watson Clinic is here to set your mind at ease. With board-certified pediatricians and specialists, fast walk-in care options, and the area’s
best technology, we work to keep your child healthy and strong on his journey into adulthood. That’s because at Watson Clinic, caring for your family is at the center of all we do…times two!
Your Home for Quality Healthcare
AFTER HOURS APPOINTMENTS PEDIATRIC CHECKUP
| 863.680.7190 | www.WatsonClinic.com | Follow us on 132 THE LAKELANDER