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 some 3,000 items being sold at the Harveys Supermarket stores ranging from flour to ice cream among thousands of other products. There also will be a $1 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.
Of course, 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 corporate headquarters for Winn-Dixie.
But McLeod said the company is by no means abandoning the Winn-Dixie brand.
“There’s a substantial amount of Winn-Dixies [left]. 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,” McLeod said.
About 15 of those Winn-Dixie stores were remodeled in the past eight months, McLeod said. One on Bay Meadows Road was re-opened after a closure.But 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 captured increased 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. So, we’ve got Winn-Dixie stores that are close by that remain Winn-Dixie.”
The changes come after a flurry of corporate activity in recent months, especially at Harveys Supermarket stores. Most of the Winn-Dixie house brands have been replaced by Harveys’ Southern Home brand. But a few, such as Chek sodas and Prestige ice cream, remain.
McLeod has said that Harveys stores generally cater to a less-affluent clientele, and the earlier Edgewood store conversion was used as a pilot for possible changes to other stores.
McLeod took over as head of Southeastern Grocers, which has 756 Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo and Harveys stores, in March 2015. After a relatively quiet first few months, the company shifted into several changes.
Jacksonville Winn-Dixie stores converting to Harveys Supermarket:
777 Market St.
2261 Edgewood Ave.
5909 University Blvd.
3000 Dunn Ave.
5250 Moncrief Road
201 W. 48th St.