Publix Super Markets Inc. announced Thursday that it will expand its corporate headquarters off the Polk Parkway in Lakeland, adding 700 jobs by 2027.

“Publix’s growth is made possible by the hard work of our associates and the loyalty of our customers,” said Publix President and CEO Todd Jones. “These additional jobs will help us support our store associates as they continue to provide the premier service our customers expect. We are proud of the role we continue to play in the great state of Florida.”

Publix, founded in 1930 by George Jenkins in Winter Haven, is the largest employee-owned supermarket chain in the world. It operates almost 1,200 stores in seven states — Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Virginia — and employs nearly 200,000 people.

Gov. Rick Scott, who attended Thursday’s announcement at Publix headquarters at 3300 Publix Corporate Parkway, lauded the creation of new jobs.

“This announcement is great news for Florida families, and exemplifies the incredible economic turnaround we’ve had in our state,” said Scott, who is running for U.S. Senate. “Since December 2010, hard-working Florida businesses like Publix have created more than 1.6 million jobs, and our unemployment rate is the lowest since April 2007. Publix is one of Florida’s greatest success stories, and we’re proud of their growth.”

Publix announced in 2001 that it was building its current 320,000-square-foot corporate office to house its then-800 corporate employees in Lakeland. With its growth has come more employees, and 1,400 now work there. Lack of space has forced Publix to lease office space in other Lakeland locations, including much of The Ledger building on Lime Street, where part of its IT department works.

About two years ago it started planning this expansion, applying for city, county and state incentives for the $25 million project. The Lakeland Economic Development Council, Central Florida Development Council, the city of Lakeland, Polk County, Enterprise Florida, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the Florida Department of Transportation, and Career Source Florida all partnered with Publix on the expansion.

In the 2017 fiscal year, Publix made $2.3 billion in net earnings on sales that totaled $34.6 billion. A year earlier, which had an extra week, net earnings totaled $2 billion on sales of $34 billion.

“We are so fortunate to have Publix Super Markets in our community. Publix is the backbone of our local economy and we are thrilled when the company succeeds locally and nationally. These are exactly the type of jobs we are excited to help support,” stated Central Florida Development Council President and CEO Sean Malott.

“Publix consistently enhances the culture of Lakeland and has done so for 88 years,” said Lakeland Mayor Bill Mutz. “Its pursuit of excellence in corporate leadership and stellar retail customer service raises the shopping experience for the rest of us. The city of Lakeland wishes Publix great success in this newest chapter of its growth.”