Knoxville's newest Publix grocery store opened its doors to customers for the first time Thursday morning.

The new store is located in the new University Commons complex near the UT campus. It is the third Publix store to open in Knoxville.

"Publix is proud to open it's first in-town Knoxville store near the downtown UT campus," said Brenda Reid, media and community relations manager for Publix. "We look forward to bringing our culture of stellar customer service and quality products as we continue to grow in Knoxville."

Officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 6:45 a.m. and then opened for business.

The 49,000 square-foot store has a traditional grocery, dairy and frozen food departments along with a full-service meat department, seafood counter, a bakery, and deli.

The first 1,000 customers will receive a free Publix re-usable grand opening grocery bag. Flowers will be given to customers as they enter the store while supplies last. The first 25 customers who purchase $50 or more in groceries will receive a free bag of groceries valued at $25.

Customers will also be able to register for prizes that will be given away throughout grand opening week.

Publix joined the already opened Walmart and several other businesses in University Commons, which will cater largely to the college crowd nearby.