Calera gets economic ‘booster shot’ from Publix

An unusually chilly spring morning didn’t dampen the crowd April 28, as dozens of people flocked to the Calera Publix grand opening.

About 50 residents from Calera and its surrounding cities braved the early morning low temperatures to be among the first to shop at the new 45,000-square-foot grocery store.

The grand opening marked the seventh Publix ribbon-cutting ceremony in Shelby County, and will provide a much-needed boost to Calera’s sales tax, said Mayor Jon Graham.

“It’s a great day in Calera. I am so excited about this store,” Graham said. “I can’t say thank you enough to the Publix crew.

“We think it will be a little boost for our sales tax revenue,” Graham added. “We hope it will draw customers not only from Calera, but other municipalities as well.”

The 89,400-square-foot Calera Crossings shopping center also features room for several business adjoining Publix, and space for six outparcel properties.

No businesses have signed leases for the adjoining and outparcel properties, but Graham said he expected interest to grow as more customers visit Publix.

“We have some outparcels for some sit-down restaurants that we hope to fill,” Graham said. “When you build it, they will come.”

Publix opened with 84 employees on its payroll, one of which was Store Manager Janella Long.

“This is a great day. We have come a long way as a company,” Long said as she handed out flowers to every customer who entered the store. “This provided me an opportunity to get promoted to store manager, so this is an awesome occasion for me.

“This store is the furthest south we can be without being in the Montgomery territory, so that gives us a great chance to reach a lot of people,” Long added. “We are very excited. I can’t even tell you how much.”

Customers also praised the store as they hurried to purchase groceries before they traveled to work.

“Oh yes, I am very excited about it,” said Calera resident Sally Hilliker. “I’ve shopped at every Publix from Homewood on down.

“This is really convenient for me. I’m only about 3 miles away,” Hilliker added.