CRESTVIEW — A Walker Elementary student had the privilege of being the first resident to tour the new Publix store Nov. 8 at 1355 Ferdon Blvd. N., Crestview.
Jordan Justiss, 9, was able to tour the new store before anyone else, including his family members.
"His aunt was in line for the grand opening and he got to see it before she did," Guadalopi Justiss, Jordan's grandmother said, adding that he has been fascinated with the store since construction started near his house in North Crestview.
"He's been waiting for weeks like it's Christmas. I'm not kidding, his hype was too much. He jumped up 30 minutes earlier on the day of the 8th, so he could go by the store before school. My dad took him up there to see if they could get in, but the store wasn't open yet," his mom, Alesia Ortiz, said.
Jared Davis, the new store's manager, said Jordan's enthusiasm during the grand opening was catching.
"I can tell you it made me excited. It brought me back to being a kid shopping at Publix at his age before I started working here. With it being the grand opening too, it was awesome."
Davis was 16 when he started working at Publix as a bagger, and advanced to manager over 20 years with the company.
"His grandpa brought him up to the store and basically asked one of our people that was out front before we opened at 8. He had been looking forward to it for months ... and had begged his grandpa to bring him. How could you say no?" Davis said.
Davis and Publix Jacksonville Merchandising Manager Hugo Vega let Jordan into the store, locked the doors, and gave him a complete tour.
"We just showed him all the departments and things we thought he would maybe like," Davis said.
It wasn't the last Davis saw of Jordan, either. Various family members, including Jordan's 11-year-old brother, TJ, visited the store three times that day.
"I got to meet his family later in the day ... Right now he's our number one customer," Davis said.
Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated TJ Justiss's age as 13 years old, based on an interview with a family member.