This regional chain just beat Trader Joe's and Kroger as America's favorite grocery store

Americans can't get enough of Publix.

The grocery chain, which has stores throughout the Southeast, was recently voted best grocery chain in the US.

Publix tied with Wegmans for the top spot in an annual survey of almost 13,000 shoppers, conducted by the consumer insights firm Market Force Information.

For the past four years, the store has ranked second in the survey, above giant chains like Walmart, Kroger, and Whole Foods. This year, Walmart came in last place in the ranking of 23 stores.

Publix was praised for its cleanliness, easy-to-navigate layout, and fast check outs.

Here's what it's like to shop there:

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What it's like to shop at Publix, America's favorite grocery store
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What it's like to shop at Publix, America's favorite grocery store

The first Publix store was opened by George W. Jenkins in Florida in the midst of the Great Depression in 1930. It now has 1,146 stores across six states in the southeast.

​​​​​The majority of its stores are in Florida and Georgia.

Source: Publix

Photo: Wikicommons

It is the largest employee-owned grocery chain in the country. Last year, it reported $2.03 billion in net profits, up by 3.1% from $1.97 billion in 2015.

​​​Source: Publix

brownpau/flickr

In this year's Market Force survey, Publix knocked Trader Joe's from the top spot and beat major chains like Walmart, Kroger, and Whole Foods. It received high marks for its cleanliness, navigability, availability of items, and speedy checkouts.​​​​​

Source: Market Force Information

Facebook/Publix

It was most highly rated for cleanliness — Publix shoppers gave it an 83% satisfaction rating in this category.​​​​​​

Source: Market Force Information

Flickr/Donald West

Publix has made considerable investments in remodeling its stores to keep them looking modern and clean. According to Tampa Bay Business Journal, it plans to spend almost $1.9 billion in 2017 on opening new stores, remodeling existing stores, improving its IT, and acquiring shopping centers where Publix is the main tenant.

​​​Source: Tampa Bay Business Journal

Publix has brought up various rival chain stores such as Martin's, Albertsons and BI-LO. In July last year, it bought 10 Martin's stores in Virginia and plans to completely remodel these stores.

Facbook/Publix

In July 2016, Publix partnered with Instacart to launch an online ordering and delivery service.

Source: Publix

Facebook/Publix

It's also added Starbucks kiosks to six of its stores, and another is on its way.

Source: Publix

Facebook/Publix

The chain is also testing meal kits in two of its stores in Florida to compete with companies like Blue Apron. The meal kits feed up to four people and come in different varieties. According to Orlando Sentinel, this includes meals such as beef brats and sauerkraut ($9.99) and chipotle shrimp tacos ($37.99).

Source: Orlando Sentinel

Courtesy of Publix
 
Publix is perhaps most famous for its "Pub Subs." The sandwiches are freshly made at its Deli Department and have been a staple of the store since the 1990s. They use Boar's Head meats.

Publix also sells rotisserie chickens, prepared food, and hot soups.

Facebook/Publix
 

In a Harris poll of 23,000 American adults about their perception of the most visible companies in the US, Publix came in third place for reputation, ahead of companies like Google and Apple.

Source: Harris Poll

(Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images)

It has also made Fortune's list of "100 Best Companies to Work For," every year since the magazine started the ranking.

Source: Publix

Facebook/Publix

CEO Todd Jones has been at the company for nearly four decades. He started as a front-service clerk and worked his way up the ranks to become CEO in April 2016.​​​​​

In 2016, he was paid $1.9 million in total. A considerable jump from the $1.2 million he received in 2015.

Courtesy of Publix

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