© State Archives of Florida/Steinmetz

The grocery store chain seems to have inspired some very loyal customers. 

Elisabeth Sherman
January 30, 2018

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a huge fan of grocery shopping. The crowds, the crying children, the fight to claim to the last carton of milk—it’s pure chaos some days. But even on the best days—the days when the shelves are stocked and the aisles are clear—I still don’t love my grocery store enough to celebrate it in song. Of course, my local grocery store is not Publix. People in Florida are so loyal to this super market chain, a high school principal in Lakeland named Daryl Ward wrote the script and five original songs for a musical about it, performed by the school’s students.

According to Eater Miami, the musical, called When You Dream tells the story of Publix founder, George W. Jenkins, who worked at Piggly Wiggly before founding his own chain. The performance is, amazingly, only thirty minutes long given how many songs—and presumably dance numbers—Ward managed to cram into his love letter to the grocery store.

Students at the Harrison School for the Arts, where Ward is the principal, performed in the musical for the first time on January 26 at a meeting for the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce. They’re planning an encore performance of When You Dream for April 7, if you happen to be in the area, and love Publix as much as the rest of the Florida seems to.

To give you an idea just how dedicated Floridians are to telling the story of their precious Publix, Ryland Marbutt, a recent graduate of Harrison School for the Arts, who now attends Pace University, actually returned to his home town just to play the lead role of George Jenkins.

You might be thinking that Publix is just a grocery store—how great could it be? Well, one recent study found that people actually report an improvement in their mood after shopping there. Just how good goes it make them feel? Good enough to sing, apparently.