Make us your home page
Instagram

Former Publix president Mark C. Hollis dies

LAKELAND — Mark C. Hollis, the former president of Publix Super Markets, who started his career with the grocer when he was 12 years old bagging potatoes, died Friday. He was 78.

Hollis worked with Publix for nearly 60 years and served as president from 1984 to 1995. During his tenure as top executive, the company grew from 276 stores with annual sales of $3.2 billion to 506 stores with sales of $9.5 billion.

"The Publix family is deeply saddened by the loss of a great leader and co-worker who made significant contributions to the growth and success of our company," said Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw. "Mark will be sorely missed by his family, our associates and the community. He was a Publix icon who had a way of captivating an audience when he spoke."

Hollis worked all areas of the supermarket, including store manager, director of personnel, director of warehousing and distribution, and vice president of public relations and public affairs. In 1974, he was elected to the board of directors.

He became president after Joe Blanton died in 1984 and worked by the principles established by Publix's founder, the late George Jenkins.

"Our whole corporate culture is built around the concept George Jenkins developed in the '30s," Hollis told the Tampa Bay Times (then the St. Petersburg Times) in 1989. "He always said, 'Treat your customer as though she was your best girlfriend.' And around here that's the way it's done."

After his tenure as president, Hollis continued part-time as vice president of the board until 1999. He remained on the board until 2005, when he was honored as director emeritus. During retirement, he spent time at his mountain home in Franklin, N.C., played tennis and took up sculpting.

He and his wife, Lynn, were philanthropists who gave generously to several organizations, including Florida Southern College, Stetson University and the Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where he died after an extended illness. The couple also funded the development of Hollis Garden in Lakeland.

Hollis was born in Lakeland and earned a bachelor's degree in management and marketing from Stetson University in 1956 and a master's degree in business administration from Michigan State University.

Founded in 1930 in Winter Haven, Publix is the largest employee-owned supermarket chain in the United States. It has 1,067 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee, and posted $27 billion in sales in 2011.

In addition to his wife of 57 years, Hollis is survived by three sons, Clayton, Publix's vice president of public affairs, Jack of Babson Park and Dean of Omaha, Neb.; and 11 grandchildren. Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. today at First United Methodist Church in Lakeland.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to a charity of choice.

Former Publix president Mark C. Hollis dies 12/07/12 [Last modified: Friday, December 7, 2012 10:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Record $417 million awarded in lawsuit linking baby powder to cancer

    Nation

    LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles jury on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a hospitalized woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene.

    A bottle of Johnson's baby powder is displayed. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a Los Angeles County Superior Court spokeswoman confirmed that a jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million in a case to a woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene. [Associated Press]
  2. Superior Uniform acquires Los Angeles-based PublicIdentity

    Corporate

    SEMINOLE — A subsidiary of Seminole-based Superior Uniform Group has acquired Los Angeles-based branded merchandise company PublicIdentity Inc.

    Superior Uniform Group CEO Michael Benstock
[Courtesy of Superior Uniform Group]
  3. FBI warns of spreading W-2 email theft scheme

    Personal Finance

    The IRS is warning businesses about a sharp increase in email phishing scams involving employees' W-2 forms — scams that can put staffers' Social Security numbers and other critical information in the hands of thieves.

    The IRS is warning businesses about a sharp increase in email phishing scams involving employees' W-2 forms.
[McClatchy DC/TNS file photo]
  4. Walmart expands grocery delivery service in Florida markets

    Retail

    TAMPA — Walmart is formally launching its grocery delivery service in Tampa, the company announced Monday, as it expands its delivery test into Orlando and Dallas. Five locations around Tampa are offering delivery for online grocery orders.

    Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery to Tampa, the company announced Monday. | [Times file photo]
  5. Marina at Hudson Beach poised to become 24-unit condominium-hotel

    Business

    HUDSON — One of the mainstay businesses at Hudson Beach is poised for redevelopment into a 24-unit condominium-hotel.

    The owners of Skeleton Key Marina in Hudson have filed preliminary plans with Pasco County to redevelop the site into a 24-unit condominium-hotel.