We moved to Anna Maria Island in 1999, soon after Publix opened a small grocery store on the island, just off of Manatee Avenue on East Bay Drive in Holmes Beach. In fact, as we arrived in town, after a three-day car trip to get here, we stopped at the island Publix to pick up a few essentials before walking into our new home and starting to unpack boxes. It was amazing that we ran into the only three people we already knew here, in the bakery section of the new store. It made us feel at home.
Since then, we have enjoyed having such a good market on the island. It is a lot smaller than the Publix, or Albertson’s, or Sweet Bay markets in Bradenton. But whoever does the buying and stocking of the Holmes Beach Publix does an amazing job. Rarely do we feel the need to go to a larger store to get something that’s not available in the island Publix. At the moment, the only such item I can think of is a particular boxed Chardonnay wine from Australia, which used to be carried on the island, but is no more.
It’s hard to believe so many essentials are gathered in just one fairly small space. And there are many luxuries, such as freshly made sushi and British products that cater to the many visitors we have from the U.K. The deli sandwiches are fresh and delicious. The samples that are cooked and handed out on weekends have given us many good ideas for recipes we have continued making over the years.
The one department at Publix that is very disappointing is the produce section. The variety is not inspiring and often there is a question of freshness. It’s important to check expiration dates and to carefully examine the produce in order not to be disappointed. And one is likely to be a bit bored with the small selection of vegetables if one shops at this Publix all the time. I’ve thought many times that I should get up early on Saturdays and go to farmer’s markets for produce.
The island Publix is a perfect size, not requiring too much time to go from one section to another. There are many times I am heading home from the mainland, passing the larger grocery stores, but decide to wait till I’m on the island to shop. It’s less daunting than having to cover the distances inside the larger markets “in town.” The staff is friendly on the island. The store feels like home.
All in all, the island is very lucky to have such a good grocery store.
Publix Supermarket, Holmes Beach
3900 E Bay Dr
Holmes Beach, FL 34217-1983
(941) 778-5422 Hours: Everyday 7:30am–9:30pm