Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

And Then There Were 6 More Harveys: Winn-Dixies Converted Overnight; CEO: No Change at Most Stores

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

And Then There Were 6 More Harveys: Winn-Dixies Converted Overnight; CEO: No Change at Most Stores

Article excerpt

Byline: Drew Dixon

A half-dozen Winn-Dixie grocery stores in Jacksonville will be converted to Harveys Supermarket stores as part of a larger makeover of dozens of other stores owned by Southeastern Grocers.

In total, 73 stores including Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo and Harveys owned by the company in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina are undergoing conversions or upgrades.

Ian McLeod, CEO and president of Southeastern Grocers, said while some Winn-Dixie stores in Jacksonville are being converted, the original Winn-Dixie brand will remain on most other stores that were acquired by the company within the past two years.

In total, 55 Harveys mainly in Georgia are being upgraded. Another 10 Bi-Lo Stores are being converted to Harveys and then the Winn-Dixies in Jacksonville are being converteed with one on Edgewood Avenue that was converted to Harveys earlier this year.

"We know that a number of our customers are cash strapped. They're shopping on a budget. We want to try to make sure that we give them the best value we possibly can," McLeod said Tuesday.

In addition to some of the physical makeovers and conversions, Southeastern Grocers instituted price cuts on about 3,000 items being sold at the Harveys Supermarket stores ranging from flour to ice cream. There also will be an area where designated items will cost $1 or less.

There will also be a new Harveys rewards card program that offers additional cost savings to customers.

"The changes that we made updated the store and painted it and made it a fresher, brighter and cleaner environment. The combination of all those changes ... really appealed to the customers in the store really well," McLeod said.

The conversions of Winn-Dixies in Jacksonville to Harveys strike at the heart of what was the home base for that chain before it was acquired by Southeastern Grocers, which is now headquartered on Edgewood Avenue, replacing the previous Winn-Dixie corporate headquarters.

But McLeod said the company is by no means abandoning the Winn-Dixie brand.

"There's a substantial amount of Winn-Dixies [left]," he said. "Overall, we've got around 450 Winn-Dixies across Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. The Winn-Dixie brand is very much part of our company."

About 15 of those Winn-Dixie stores were remodeled in the past eight months, McLeod said. One on Baymeadows Road was reopened after a closure. But he said Harveys attracts a different set of customers.

"It's a slightly different market proposition than the Winn-Dixie brand or Bi-Lo brand," McLeod said, noting the conversion of the Winn-Dixie to Harveys on Edgewood in May has already added customers.

"It's proved very successful and one which those customers have responded to," McLeod said. "Not all customers shop in one shop for everything. …

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