Southeastern Grocers Inc. (SEG), parent company of Bi-Lo, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket, and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, has revealed plans to expand in Florida with eight new Winn-Dixie stores before the end of this year.
The Jacksonville, Fla.-based retailer is converting its recently acquired Lucky’s Market locations in Fort Myers, Gainesville, Lake Mary and Melbourne, as well as the Earth Fare stores it just obtained in Boynton Beach, Jacksonville, Lakewood Ranch and Viera.
"At Southeastern Grocers, we are committed to supporting, enriching and growing the communities we serve," said Anthony Hucker, the company’s president and CEO. "Winn-Dixie is deeply rooted in Florida, and we are proud to expand our footprint and enhance our presence throughout the state. In addition to our new store that we opened earlier this year, we look forward to introducing eight more new appealing stores with fresh, quality products at the right price to deliver a shopping experience our associates, customers and communities can always count on."
Following the remodeling process, all eight locations are slated to hold grand-opening celebrations this year. When asked how those events would be conducted in the age of social distancing, Kaley Shaffer, SEG's senior manager of consumer communications and community affairs, told Progressive Grocer: "The health and safety of our customers and associates remains our primary concern as we plan the opening of these new stores. We have not determined what the opening celebrations will look like yet as we continue to evaluate and evolve our safety precautions. We will be sure to let you and our customers know when we have more details to share."
Additionally, SEG is offering positions to former Lucky’s Market and Earth Fare associates affected by the acquisitions as well as to any other local community members.
The impending debut of the eight new stores comes in the wake the February opening of a new Winn-Dixie store in the Brentwood community of Jacksonville, which was facing food-desert status after the closure of a local Publix store there.
One of the largest conventional supermarket companies in the U.S., SEG operates grocery stores, liquor stores and in-store pharmacies throughout the seven southeastern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. The company is No. 34 on The PG 100, PG’s 2020 list of the top food retailers in in North America.