business news in context, analysis with attitude

We got several emails about the announcement by Publix that it will spend a half-billion dollars this year to build 57 new stores, as well as invest in the renovation of other stores in the chain.

One MNB user wrote:

One of those 57 stores is in MY town -- it's all the buzz at parties and gatherings. We've paid our dues -- the only store in town for the last 20 years has been a Winn-Dixie. We cannot wait to welcome Publix with open arms.

MNB user David Livingston wrote:

KC, you are correct about offense, offense, offense. Publix not only has a good offense, they have a good team and everyone is doing a great job. Winn-Dixie is just getting clobbered by Publix. Publix is one of the few companies that seems to thrive with Wal-Mart’s expansion. They view Wal-Mart as just a tool to help them destroy their competition.

Yet another MNB user offered:

Publix has Kroger and others trembling in fear. What’s their secret? Clean stores, great service, great people. That, plus the fact that they don’t have to worry about the added fat and bureaucracy of union hands in the pot to keep them from treating their employees right while being flexible in serving customers. I should have bought stock when I was a front-end clerk eight years ago.

Regarding the strides that Wal-Mart seems to be making in getting stores into Chicago, one MNB user wrote:

Did you ever see Mayor Daley side against the unions? How powerful do you think Wallyworld is?

And another MNB user chimed in:

Wal-Mart, as it looks today, is an unholy thing. But, it's not all bad in all places. On the South Side of Chicago, something other than a crack den would be a lovely edition to the landscape. Who else, besides Wal-Mart, would even dare to put a business in place of long extinct factories? It's no worse than developers plans of ripping down low income housing projects and replacing them with luxury condos for the dispossessed yuppie.

We had several stories yesterday that, to us, pointed up the need for full disclosure by retailers and manufacturers about what is in their products and where they come from.

One MNB user wrote:

I ask: when's the last time you went into a chain grocery store and found something farm raised and didn't get a little scared? Full disclosure on the part of retailers is only one part, the other is consumer education. Do ten minutes of research on the net and find out what the hell you're eating. It's like the Frito Lay Olean debacle a few years back. Consumers were all in an uproar because they had a low fat potato chip, but didn't dare ask about what Olean really was. It was only after mind numbing diarrhea that they thought to raise an eyebrow of suspicion.

And regarding accusations by Democrats that the Bush Administration is dragging its feet on implementing mad cow-related rules, one MNB user wrote:

Kevin, the other shoe may have already left the hand! This president is from Texas. Don't expect him to turn on his cattlemen fund raisers. And, why is this story no longer on the nightly news? Even the liberal press has put this on the back burner. Thanks for keeping it up front in your terrific column.

And finally, contributing to the ongoing discussion about Starbucks, one member of the MNB community wrote:

Just will throw my 2¢ in about the experience of Starbucks.

I absolutely love Starbucks coffee. I buy the beans in our local grocery store. I will stop in one whenever I am near one. But the servers are as pretentious a lot as I have ever encountered. In other words, I will frequent a Starbucks in spite of their personnel, not because of them, because the coffee is so damn good. But I'm always glad to leave. There is no warm & fuzzy in a Starbucks, especially at the service counter.

We still find these observations to be intriguing, because our experiences at a myriad of Starbucks have largely been terrific – good coffee, friendly people, a comfortable atmosphere, and high-speed wireless Internet access.
KC's View: