Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Winn-Dixie turns over a new leaf in Hoggetown


Winn-Dixie #2564

1459 NW 23rd Ave

Gainesville, FL  



 If you're interested in seeing a whole new Winn-Dixie, you may be in for a Winn Win! Pun is completely intended too!

Today marks not only Veteran's Day, but a new day for Winn-Dixie in a town heavily saturated with Publix grocery stores (14 to be exact)! 

The place you are looking at today started out as a Pic n' Save store back in the 70's (I'm assuming). I know Gainesville at one time had at least three Pic n' Save stores, a Jacksonville-based discount department store that was pretty popular back in the day. 

Pic n' Save started to have financial troubles in the 1990's (C/O A.F.B.), and had to close their stores. This Pic n' Save closed in 1996! It wasn't until January of 2015 when Bo and Trish Sharon, founders of Lucky's Market, started their very first venture in the Florida grocery retail scene. Florida's first Lucky's Market store opened here in January of 2015, the first and longest tenured Lucky's in the Sunshine State. Of course we all know what happened with Lucky's Market. Kroger Co., who had invested a stake (55% ) in Lucky's Market decided in January of 2020 that they would pull out of their investment in the organic chain. It wasn't long later that Lucky's filed for bankruptcy protection and announced the closure of all Florida locations, except one in West Melbourne (AFB's back yard). Initially it was thought that the West Melbourne location would be the last holdout for Lucky's in Florida, but it didn't take long for the announcement to come that even that one store would close with all the rest. 

No one knew for sure what would happen to all the closed Lucky's stores in Florida. I would imagine Publix would have been interested since they pretty much want to dominate every corner and city in the state, but to my surprise SEG ended up, along with Aldi and Publix picking up most of the Florida Lucky's Market stores. My old Panama City Albertsons that was half used as a new Lucky's still sits abandoned once again...sigh! 

SEG ended up buying the leases for 4 former Lucky's Market and 4 Earth Fare stores in the state, mostly in Central and Northeast Florida. Gainesville was one of the Lucky (well sort of) Lucky's locations to be picked up and converted into a new concept, small format Winn-Dixie store. And starting below I hope you find this post very informative for what the new Mini Winn-Dixie is all about.

Winn-Dixie #2564 with a large American Flag (perfect for Veteran's Day) displayed proudly at their new Verde Plaza location in Gainesville, Florida!

Stepping inside and looking left is a fairly large display of produce all neatly displayed for customers to see. This is very close to the way Lucky's Market would have had their Produce displayed, except for a "Squeeze the day" juicing counter.

Turning back towards the left front corner is more produce along the left wall. 

Here's a more backed-out look at that wall which used to contain a sign reading "Food Glorious Food"

"Food Glorious Food" has simply been replaced by a corrugated tan backing with the word "Fresh"
This décor seems a bit like the BI-LO décor, as mentioned by Retail Retell. 

Now turning to face the left wall and looking toward the back left corner. All the coolers in this part of the store are in the exact same place as Lucky's had them, so a bit of ease for Winn-Dixie for planning the layout, I'm sure. 

Before heading down a couple of grocery aisles, here's a look back at the Produce area again. Those garage doors which Lucky's had to give the place an "outdoor market" feel have been replaced with windows. 

Here's the Front End from Produce, showing lots of shoppers checking the new store out on Veteran's Day

Here's the Frozen Foods Aisle, which really wasn't busy at this moment. The area busiest in the store was the Meat & Seafood counter, pretty normal for Winn-Dixie.

In the back left corner looking to the right, Dairy is located on the back wall behind the grocery aisles. 

Better closeup of the Dairy Wall. I like that corrugated sign holder. It is a nice revamp of the red and bland Down Down décor package.

Sorry about this photo. I snapped too fast. But this is another grocery aisle containing Cereal, Soups, and Coffee.

Here's another grocery aisle containing Cookies, Crackers, Snacks, and Candy

There's about 6 grocery aisles, if I remember correctly. This is the end of those grocery aisles and opening up into a Seafood, Cheese, Deli, and Hot Bar area. 

Here's the Butcher block with Meats to the right in coolers (exactly where Lucky's had theirs). 

Backed-out shot of Seafood & Butcher block

Moving along to the right, we have the Deli and Kitchen (oddly, exactly what Lucky's used to call it). However, one disappointing thing about this Winn-Dixie "Kitchen" is that it did not sell fresh hot Pizza! That's one of things I liked about Lucky's. I hope that maybe they will incorporate that idea in here in the future. 

The Bakery. I've never had too many items from WD's Bakery that I've been too impressed with. Their breads tend to be very dry and not have a lot of flavor (certainly not as good as Publix). However, for such a small store, this Winn-Dixie's Bakery carries a large selection of items, all neatly laid out too!

Here's another look at the Bakery. The coolers on the wall to my right were installed by Winn-Dixie. When Lucky's was here this wall contained shelving of Bread. 

Before I head into the Health & Beauty department, here's a look back at where I've just walked from; the Butcher, Seafood, Deli, and Kitchen counters, all in the center back portion of the store.

Here's a look across the Front End toward the now colorful looking wall paint transitioning from Produce green to red (for everything else). 

"Hello Gainesville" is what I'm greeted with along the front wall to the right of the main entrance. This angle is looking into the Health & Beauty and Pet Care aisles. I find the location of the "Hello Gainesville" sign to be just slightly odd in its placement. But I'll take the nice gesture anyway.

The Health & Beauty aisles to my right and ahead were the approximate location for Lucky's Apothecary department, minus a dividing wall that was once lined with supplements. Winn-Dixie didn't like that waste of space and removed that wall during their renovations.

Here's one of those Health & Beauty aisles containing such things as foot and eye care products.

Here's another aisle containing shampoo, soaps, body wash, and toothpaste. Great selection of Health & Beauty for such a small Winn-Dixie!

There's that "Hello Gainesville" sign again from the Baby Care aisle

Part of the front aisle looking toward the installed Customer Service box.


Now, looking to the right side of the store, we look into the separate Spirits store. Pet Food is piled on shelves on the wall bordering the liquor store. This space where I'm standing used to be the Wine & Beer exclusive department. This was an open seating area containing a couch, love seat, and a Wine tasting station. The many times I came into Lucky's there was never anyone over here, which I was surprised by. 

Turning around, I forgot to mention that one of these Health & Beauty aisles contained some Household items like detergent and cleaners. Oh my! What is that in the background?

It's WD's Taproom! Well, talk about chilling out and enjoying a nice (whatever you like I guess) after a stressful trip to the grocery store. I gotta say, The WD Taproom looks pretty cool. Here. Now I know what this crazy little random wall was that I saw in my earlier photos of this place during the renovations. 

Once you've gotten your mouth quenched and primed for more of the bubbly at the Taproom, just turn to the right and you have a nice selection of Beer in coolers located where Lucky's Market had all their beer, just 9 months previously (well, liquidating at that point). 

Here's a large selection of Wine

......And more Wine

One last look down the right right side Beer Wall

This last photo in the Beer & Wine department is looking back towards the Health & Beauty aisles

But before we leave the Beer & Wine department, check out what is located directly behind the Taproom; a stack of Coca-Cola products making the shape of a gator, perfect for Gainesville. Actually, now that I recall, One of the aisles in the Beer & Wine department was dedicated for soft drinks only, which was located directly behind me. 

Here's a last look across the checkout before I leave. Pretty nice setup!

Just in front of the checkout is that little box of a Customer Service counter that was added in during renovations. 

Yon Woo in the flesh? Who does this guy think he is?! Wearing an Albertsons hat at the Grand Opening of a Winn-Dixie!? Actually I put this hat on for my picture to show that Winn-Dixie actually did give away something to customers at their Grand Opening. 
This cute little red bag contained a tiny cup of Tim Hortons's coffee (weird, eh), a large Kellogg's rice crispy treat, and some little packets of Creole seasonings. Also, a weird combination, but what the heck, I'll take it! 

I hope you all enjoyed this look at one of SEG's premier mini Winn-Dixie stores. I'm sure AFB will be sharing a post in the next couple of months of his West Melbourne Winn-Dixie after it opens. I'll be curious to see the similarities and differences between that store and this one. 

Hope you all enjoy the Holidays and have fun store blogging!



  1. I like it! I was not expecting a new decor package to come out of these stores, but I like the new look. It's not as in-your-face as Down Down, with more accents to break up all the red. It's certainly based off Down Down, but different enough to be considered something new. After looking through some photos of the Jacksonville, Boynton Beach, and Lakewood Ranch stores this morning, I've decided to call this new decor the "Made in Florida" decor, based off one of the signs featured in the entryway at these stores. With Winn-Dixie really focusing on Florida as the key to their success, I think it's a fitting name in that respect too. Even with the new decor, I doubt Down Down is on its way out. It seems like this decor was specially designed for these smaller prototype stores, with Down Down continuing on in the rest (unless you notice green walls appearing at the remodel of store 197, then we'll know for sure!)

    For a smaller than average store, the amount of stuff they crammed in here is quite impressive! The selection of products seems rather complete. I'm surprised so much of Lucky's layout was preserved, as I'd have thought more would be shuffled around. I'm also surprised with all the fresh foods offered, there was no pizza available! Winn-Dixie does have stores that serve pizza, like the Cocoa Beach Winn-Dixie. The Baymeadows Winn-Dixie in Jacksonville serves pizza from the taproom, so maybe that's served over there instead? Still though, I really like what I see here, and I really hope the people of Gainesville will appreciate this store as much as you do! I'm very excited for when the West Melbourne store opens come December/January, especially now that I've seen what it will look like, and there will for sure be coverage of that on my end!

    1. Having no pizza was a huge disappointment! However this is still a nice store and so far (I visited it again today to pick up a few things and it was pretty busy!

      I think this decor unfortumately is just going to exist in this little stores. As far as I can tell store #197 will retain the plain old Down Down. Although, I've noticed a lot of the newer Down Down remodels are getting the wooden looking trim pieces over the Bakery and Deli like I saw at my old local Lynn Haven Winn-Dixie. The new look is still welcome, as I've gotten bored with post bankruptcy.

  2. Awesome post, and an awesome new décor package -- a Winn Win indeed! Thanks for the shoutout, too. I still maintain that all that green paint from the cancelled BI-LO remodels had to go somewhere XD But jokes aside, this new edit on Down Down looks very, very nice. Just the simple act of adding in new paint colors, such as that green (and also the black in the beer and wine department, although I think that was already present in Down Down), does wonders to break up the red. Same goes for the new corrugated backgrounds for the department signage, and the point above the décor where the walls turn a neutral color (often an underappreciated décor element! The Winn-Dixie stores that have the red go all the way up to the ceiling can be overwhelming, I'm sure).

    This part doesn't have to do with the colors of the package or anything, but I really dig the cute whimsical elements, like the ones seen on the tile backsplash in the service departments and around the phrases on the upper walls. These are also present in the grand opening ad for this store that you posted to flickr, I noticed, so I wonder if they were lifted from W-D's marketing or if it's the vice versa, the marketing picked it up from this décor. Kind of a chicken and egg scenario there :P One thing doesn't need questioning, though -- how promising this looks for Winn-Dixie! (Now, if it actually succeeds and expands is a different story, but I sure hope that will be true...)

    From the looks of it, nothing in here seems too special or organic-based. There also doesn't look to be an emphasis on service departments and other amenities, at least not larger than that which would be found at a regular full-size supermarket. Correct me if I'm wrong, then, but this basically feels just like a mini Winn-Dixie. If that's the case, then this could certainly be an interesting vehicle for expansion in the future. Smaller stores can get you into places a larger supermarket might not otherwise fit, and with less overhead costs and square footage to maintain, to boot. This, when the trend in supermarkets has more often been to make them larger. Of course, that's not true of Publix, though, so maybe Florida is just a different breed when it comes to that sort of thing. Either way, there's a lot riding on these stores. And I'm liking what I'm seeing so far!

    1. Thanks! I love this new decor Winn- Dixie is putting in these stores. Like I said to AFB above, it appears the plain Down Down will continue in all other store remodels (at least for the time being). And those little sayings are really cool! This new store is showing that Winn-Dixie can really step up their game and complete on a better footing with Publix.
      I just hope they keep it nice.

  3. This Mini-Dixie looks pretty nice. I wouldn't have suspected that it was a downsized store just from the look of things, but I'm hardly an expert on Winn-Dixie stores. That wood-like flooring is a Lucky's thing and not a Winn-Dixie thing, right?

    Either way, I'm glad Winn-Dixie went with that look of flooring whether it is a case of them recycling the floor that was there or if they put it in themselves. It looks much nicer than plain concrete. The wood look gives this store a nice, classy look. Classy is probably not a word often associated with The Beef People, lol.

    There's nothing like a little creole seasoning to go along with a breakfast of Tim Hortons coffee and a Rice Krispy Treat. Enjoy, lol.

    1. It pretty much is an average Winn Dixie, just with an expanded Beer & Wine section and a Taproom.

      The tiles they used on this floor are very nice and make this look like a premier grocery store.

      That mix of giveaways they gave me was odd too. I'll enjoy them the best I can.

  4. I worry that despite all these remodels and 9 new Winn-Dixie stores, SEG still faces an uphill battle with pleasing a lot of Floridians. Publix is still the best and I think part of Winn-Dixies lag is enthusiasm of employees within the company. I get the distinct vibe that there is an almost total lack of enthusiasm in the employees here compared with almost any Publix (and Aldi actually). Until SEG can instill excitement amongst their employees this will continue to be a struggling company. With all that aside, these stores are still nice, and hopefully I'm wrong.