Winn-Dixie #2268 / Lucky's Market #31 / Future Winn-Dixie #2???
3170 West New Haven Avenue, West Melbourne, FL - Plaza West
As Lucky's Market of West Melbourne enters its final few days in business, it's time I continue my coverage of this store's closure. To start off today's post, we'll be seeing some photos from February 9, 2020 - five days into the closure process. On this day I came by here not expecting to take photos, but so much had changed since my visit a few days prior, I took photos anyway.
Since it was relatively early in the closure process, all of the store was still accessible during this visit. Most of the change we'll be seeing was the rapid depletion of merchandise, as the first few days of Lucky's closure got people out here in mobs. On February 9, the closing discounts were only at 25% off, as noted on the banner sign out front.
Heading inside, we'll take a quick spin around the sales floor to see how empty everything was beginning to look. As you can see in the above photo of the produce department, merchandise was going fast here.
Five days in, frozen foods were practically wiped out, minus a few odds and ends pushed into the coolers at the very front of the aisle.
The empty coolers continued into the dairy department...
...and from the empty coolers we now surround ourselves with empty shelves. On this day, employees were working to consolidate all the remaining merchandise toward the front of the aisles, leaving the backs empty like we see here.
Leaving the grocery aisles, here's a different angle of the emptying dairy department.
No more meat to be found here.
As you can tell, Melbournians love themselves a good sale! In five days the town was able to deplete this store of half its merchandise. Actually, not only were people from Melbourne coming to shop at this store to stock up on deals, but people from out of town too. I overheard one couple talking to an employee during my visit, saying they came here from the Orlando area for their Lucky's fix, thinking this store was still on the go forward list as previously reported. While they weren't angry or anything to find this store closing after driving all the way out here, they were sad to find a closing sale, discovering Lucky's was leaving Florida after all.
As I mentioned previously, the goal of my visit on this day wasn't originally for photos: it was for pizza. I really wanted to have Lucky's pizza one last time before this place closed, and I was hoping to see some out for sale. Well, I was right, Lucky's still had pizza this day - but the employee in the kitchen had pulled the last few slices from the display and discarded them a few minutes before I got there! (Just my luck!) Now, I don't know if that was the very last pizza batch to come out of this store, but it was the last time I knew it was being made here. By my next visit, the service departments had all been shut down.
Even if I came out of this visit pizza-less, I did come out of it with 15 photos I wasn't planning on taking. Before we depart for this visit, here's a look at some more empty shelves in the bulk food department.
Lastly for my February 9, 2020 visit, here's a photo of one of the three signs that employees made and hung by the registers. The posters were signed by all the store's employees, sharing their gratitude and memories with the community for the last three years. While this is a nice tribute, it's certainly sad to read some of the comments, as a lot of the employees were upset to be losing their "work families".
While that completes my photos from February 9, 2020, that's not the end of my post - the closing continues in the next half of this post, with photos from a week later on February 15, 2020:
In the span of a week, a lot had changed here at Lucky's. The closing discount had dropped to 50% off the entire store on February 12th, wiping out much of what was left in stock. A lot of the store had been closed off at this point, and the crowds were dying down as there wasn't much left to buy. For the first time in ages, I was able to pull into this parking lot and see it half empty (the way it always was when Winn-Dixie was here).
With the selection of merchandise shrinking, parts of the store were getting blocked off. Customers were no longer allowed in the left half of the store, including the areas where produce, frozen foods, and the dry grocery aisles were.
Emptiness was the only thing to be found in the produce department anymore...
Displays and baskets of what little grocery merchandise was left were being used to block off the empty parts of the store from customers. As you can tell, this place isn't looking so "glorious" anymore!
During my visit, the Ramen bar was the only service department left open at this point in the closing. The ramen was also the only item excluded from the store's 50% off discount too, marked down from its original $9.99 to $7. $7 still seemed a bit pricey to me for ramen, so I didn't try it (so I guess I'll never know how "gourmet ramen" stacks up against its 39 cent counterpart!).
Looping around to the back of the ramen bar, here's a look at what grocery merchandise remained. Part of a grocery aisle was left open to house the remaining food items, which were mostly canned goods, jars, and sauces. There was a cooler left running for some leftover Thanksgiving turkeys that must have been pulled from the back, as well as a half aisle of beer and wine next to the cooler.
Here's a close-up shot of what little dry grocery products remained, with the old rotisserie chicken display being used to block off the rest of the aisle.
Like the left half of the store, the back right corner (home to all the service departments) was also blocked off from customer access.
In bulk foods, the bulk barrels also made for a good secondary use: barricades.
The Kitchen was all lit up, but there was nothing left to cook.
Wicker baskets of random merchandise blocked off access to The Kitchen, with the beer corner peeking out in the background.
Since the kitchen is closed, we'll follow the wicker baskets to the apothecary department...
The apothecary was the most well-stocked department left in the store, still full of a decent selection of vitamins, supplements, and such. As the closing got further to the end, apothecary items were about all that remained in the store.
Since there wasn't much left to pick from, we'll finish up this post with a look across the front end as we begin to exit.
As we head out, we'll also see the cafe had been shut down and roped off by this point in the closing. Sip and stroll is no more here in West Melbourne (unless Winn-Dixie plans to bring that back, as they did experiment with a Sip and Stroll experience of their own at a store up near Jacksonville last year). However, I can't see Winn-Dixie bringing too many fancy extras like Sip and Stroll to West Melbourne, as good of an idea as it may be to win back Lucky's former shoppers (many of which are bitter about Winn-Dixie returning to this location). Who knows though, as I'm not sure how much or how little Winn-Dixie plans to do with the 5 Lucky's stores they purchased. That's one of the big reasons why this whole situation is so intriguing to me, as seeing a new Winn-Dixie is so rare!
So that's all I have from Lucky's for today, but before we depart, Lucky's themselves has some inspirational words for us taped to the door...
"Don't be sad. Be happy it happened 💗," reads the handwritten sign taped to the door. I couldn't have phrased that any better myself, and I feel this phrase could apply to so much in life, not just Lucky's closing. While Lucky's wasn't in Florida for long, they were in West Melbourne for three years, three years we'll (hopefully) never forget. While many would have loved to see Lucky's here for much longer than that, we should be grateful for the three years we did get to spend with Lucky's. Instead of dwelling over the closing, we should think about all the good times from the past - the people, the experiences, the pizza, etc. So many times people want to turn to the negative, when really, we should try to find the positives in a situation like this. That's what the West Melbourne Lucky's wants us to do, and do I shall (and hopefully you guys do too).
While that's all I have for today's post, more coverage from the closing of the West Melbourne Lucky's will be coming shortly. I have at least one more closure photoset to come to MFR, and potentially one more after that if I can time a visit right for the very last day. The last day will more than likely occur before the planned date of February 25th, as there was hardly anything left in here during my last visit. If you're keeping tabs on this store, the actual final day will be posted to the store's Facebook page the morning of when it will occur, so keep an eye out for that in the coming days. (Update - Lucky's Market of West Melbourne closed on February 21, 2020, four days earlier than expected).
Anyway, that's all I have for now. So until the next post,