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Winn-Dixie is a grocery store chain with several locations in the Birmingham District.

The chain was founded when veteran Idaho grocer William Milton Davis purchased the Rockmoor Grocery in Miami, Florida from C. A. Rhodes in 1925. He instituted a model of lowering prices by having customers serve themselves and eliminating store credit. He soon expanded to other locations in Miami, increasing his buying power and adopting the name Table Supply Stores. Davis used his contacts with western suppliers to bring beef by the railcar to Miami, undercutting his competitor's prices and taking the nickname "The Beef People".

The successful business was able to expand rapidly by acquiring chains in Tampa and Orlando during the Great Depression. Davis died in 1954 and his four sons inherited the business. In 1936 they successfully lobbied against the "Florida Recovery Act" which would have banned chains and out-of-state owners from operating retail stores in the state, and founded a lobby that later became the Florida Retail Federation.

In 1939 the Davises bought a controlling interest in the Lovett’s Groceteria chain operated by William Lovett. That chain, which had been founded in 1920 by E. L. Winn, had previously operated as Winn & Lovett and had 73 locations in north Florida and south Georgia. After five years operating both chains separately, they combined them and opened a headquarters office in Jacksonville in 1944. Although the company revived the Winn & Lovett moniker for the business, they continued to keep their stores under their original names.

Still growing, Winn & Lovett acquired the Steiden Stores chain in Lousville, Kentucky in 1945 and the upstart Margaret Ann New Era Markets chain in Miami in 1949. The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange, with the ticker symbol WIN, in 1952. Their expansion during that decade included the introduction of a new store brand, Kwik Chek, which they gradually imposed on their older brands. In 1955 Winn & Lovett, with 271 stores negotiated a merger with the Dixie-Home Super Markets chain with Dixie-Home Super Markets chain with 117 locations, mostly in North and South Carolina. The new company took the name Winn-Dixie, but kept the check mark logo and adopted the "Chek" name for its store-branded products. Bert Thomas was made president of the company in 1965.

Winn-Dixie bought out the Birmingham-based Hill's Food Stores chain in the early 1960s. Later that decade an anti-trust ruling barred Winn-Dixie from acquiring more new stores and it spent the next decade fostering growth within its existing footprint, and by adding a Bahamian chain to its portfolio. That judgment expired in 1977 and the company soon acquired Kimbell Inc. which operated three chains in the Southwest. Winn-Dixie peaked in 1987 with more than $9 billion in gross revenues from nearly 1,300 stores. The company leased all of its locations.

In the 1990s the business was affected by the rise of much-larger supercenters operated by Wal-Mart and Costco, and was out-competed at the smaller side by fast-growing convenience store chains. Winn-Dixie responded by closing its less profitable locations and spent $650 million consolidating others into larger "Marketplace" stores with more specialty foods and pre-cooked items.

The company went through a bankruptcy reorganization in 2005, relisting as WINN. The company went private when it was purchased by Greenville, South Carolina's Bi-Lo chain in 2012. The combined holding company, reorganized in September 2013 by Lone Star Funds as "Southeastern Grocers", moved its headquarters to Jacksonville, Florida.

The company began modernizing its Birmingham area stores in 2012, beginning with a $2.4 million renovation of the Montevallo Road location. The remodeled store included an expanded deli and bakery with prepared foods. The kitchen was overseen by chef Scott Lokey.

In March 2018 Southeastern Grocers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, reporting more than $1 billion in debts. Plans were announced to close 94 stores, including 10 of its 56 Alabama locations.

In 2023 Southeastern Grocers shut down and sold its 400 remaining Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket stores to ALDI of Essen, Germany. Its 32 Fresco y Mas stores were sold to the Fresco Retail Group.


Former Locations


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