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      Leesburg Publix celebrates grand opening

      Shelves were freshly stocked in anticipation of the new Publix in the Lee Crossings Shopping Center that opened on Wednesday. Publix also brought employees up from Florida stores to help with the busy grocery store.

      Free samples were available to customers. Store employees say this is one time shoppers didn TMt mind waiting in long lines.

      This is more of a social event. We knew some of the customers and we met a lot of new customers, says Leesburg Publix Store Manager Garrett Tukes.

      Before the opening of the Leesburg Publix, many shoppers were going out of their way for groceries.

      Before, it took me 25 to 30 minutes to get into town and get to the Publix there and shop. Then with the traffic and everything it was at least a good two hours for a grocery trip, says shopper Petrie Montgomery. It takes me ten minutes to get home. It makes it easier getting home and getting dinner ready.

      Not only is the new store benefiting individual customers, it TMs also benefiting the entire community.

      Store managers can TMt say yet how much revenue they anticipate to bring in, but they have brought in 105 associates. Half came from an existing store in Albany and half were brand new, meaning new jobs for both Leesburg and Albany.

      "It TMs a great opportunity to serve customers and it TMll bring businesses into this area and I know we TMre excited to serve customers and businesses here in Leesburg, says Keith Gilbert, District Manager for Publix.

      The Leesburg Crossing complex where the new Publix is has a few more stores empty that they TMre filling which means more business and revenue coming to Leesburg.

      Wednesday TMs grand opening began at 8 a.m., but its regular store hours are 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. The Publix in Leesburg also has a pharmacy.

      For more information about the new Publix in Lee County or any other Publix stores visit /