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Sweetbay to become Winn-Dixie

March 26, 2014
By MEL TOADVINE ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Grocery shoppers in Lehigh Acres are watching as the food shopping experience is changing, especially with the latest news that the Sweet Bay Supermarket on Lee Blvd., which closed last Saturday, will re-open March 28 as Lehigh's second Winn-Dixie supermarket. The other Winn-Dixie is on Homestead Rd.

In Lehigh, the Publix supermarket on Homestead Rd. was demolished three weeks ago with workers planning to rebuild the store, making it larger with additional departments. Also a Jack's Market has expanded into a meat and produce market in the Lehigh Town Center on the corner of Homestead and Alabama roads.

In a news release from Win-Dixie Stores with headquarters in Jacksonville, Bi-Lo Holdings, the parent company of BI-LO and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, Joey Media, a regional vice president of Winn-Dixie, said 17 Sweetbay stores in the Fort Myers Lehigh Naples and Tampa areas were to close March 22 and be "rebranded" Winn-Dixie stores when they re-open this week.

Customers at the Sweetbay store on Lee Blvd. were told two weeks ago with a large sign at the entrance that the store would close this past Saturday and reopen this week as Lehigh's second Winn-Dixie. During the closure, employees would be helping to make changes in the stores and stock shelves with the usual brands, now including Winn-Dixie's name brands.

"Upon reopening as a Winn-Dixie, we believe customers will be pleasantly surprised to see that we have been working hard to provide the fresh, quality products they want at prices they can afford," Medina said. "Plus, we will offer a suite of in-store savings programs, like the "fuelperks!" rewards program, which lets customers earn incredible savings at participating Shell stations every time they shop with their Winn-Dixie Customer Reward Card.

"While the name on the fronts of the stores is changing, the people running them don't have to. We've invited Sweetbay associates to join the Winn-Dixie family and look forward to exchanging what it means to be local and to working together to run even greater stores," Medina said.

Bi-Lo Holdings, LLC, the parent company of BI-LO and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, is the ninth-largest conventional supermarket chain in the U.S. based on net sales, according to Medina. The company employs nearly 60,000 employees who serve customers in 686 grocery stores and 482 in-store pharmacies throughout eight southeastern states.

While the Publix supermarket on Homestead is closed, shoppers have been urged to visit the Publix in the shopping center at SR82 and Lee Blvd., in Fort Myers, just outside of the border with Lehigh Acres. The new Publix in downtown Lehigh is expected to be open by the end of the year.



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