Publix sponsors electric shuttle after local Kroger closes

Publix is co-sponsoring electric vehicle shuttles in Decatur, Georgia, that bring locals to its store after a Kroger store shut down.
Connor Perrett
A Publix store.
  • Publix is co-sponsoring electric shuttles in Decatur, Georgia, after the region’s local store closed last year.
  • The shuttles take residents from different points downtown to Publix’s store in Sam’s Crossing Village. 
  • City officials say the shuttle is particularly meant to help seniors who are less likely to have their own vehicle. 

Publix in January began co-sponsoring an electric shuttle in Decatur, Georgia, that takes community members to its store following the closure of another grocery store in the region.

Kroger, the largest supermarket operator in the U.S., last fall shuttered its store in Decatur, which had been open for more than two decades. The grocer cited declining sales and negative profit as the reason for closing the store

The free shuttle, which is co-sponsored by the city Decatur Downtown Development Authority, takes consumers to the Publix location at Sam’s Crossing Village, a 54,000-square-foot store that opened to consumers in 2021.

“One of the most desirable attributes about Decatur is its almost universal walkability, and with the recent closing of Kroger on Commerce Drive, there was no longer a supermarket within reasonable walking distance for our residents, especially seniors who may be less likely to have access to their own vehicles,” said Shirley Baylis, business development manager for the City of Decatur, in a release sent to Retail Leader. “We have high hopes for this initiative, as it will not only provide critical transportation to those who need to shop for groceries but do so in electric vehicles that reinforce our community’s commitment to protecting the environment.”

According to the January release, the shuttle is currently running as a three-month test that’s slated to conclude in April. The electric vehicles operate three days each week — Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and they offer multiple hop-on points across the city’s downtown. The new electric vehicles will be large enough to fit a driver and 3 to 4 other riders, the release said. The program is operated by Let’s Ride Atlanta, a minority-owned small business founded in 2018 that offers free electric shuttle services in Atlanta. 

Publix is the largest employee-owned grocery chain in the U.S. and has more than 1,300 stores and 10 distribution centers across seven southern states: Alabama (86 stores), Florida (844 stores), Georgia (202 stores), North Carolina (52 stores), South Carolina (68 stores), Tennessee (55 stores) and Virginia (19 stores), according to the grocer.

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