Winn Dixie Stores, Inc. is a supermarket chain operating in the southeastern parts of the United States and the Bahamas. With almost a century long history, and notable bankruptcy, Winn Dixie Stores has won a place in popular culture through privately owned labels such as “Chek” soft drinks and “Valu Time” products as well as gaining great popularity in song, literature and film.
Beginning in 1914 William Milton Davis and his four sons owned and operated a small general store called Davis Mercantile in Barley, Idaho, which specialized in selling over-the counter goods on credit. Although the store was short lived, this was where Winn Dixie first got started. By the early 1920’s, Davis’ business began to suffer heavy losses and in 1925 he was forced to borrow $10,000 from his father which he used to move his family to Miami where he purchased a grocery store called Rockmoor Grocery. Over the following years Davis acquired four other store outlets and in 1927 changed the name of his company to Table Supply. The company continued to expand throughout the Great Depression by way of systematically purchasing other failed retail chains. William Davis passed away in 1934, leaving his four sons to continue his legacy.
Around the end of the Great Depression, in 1939, the Davis brothers purchased 51% of shares in a competing retail chain and in 1944 merged the two companies under one name- Winn Lovett- subsequently moving the company headquarters to Jacksonville, Florida. By 1952, after purchasing a total of 183 stores throughout Florida and Kentucky, Winn-Lovett earns a place in history for being the first corporation based in Florida on the New York Stock Exchange. At this point the company kept expanding, purchasing additional retail chains and in 1955 changed its name to Winn Dixie after purchasing the Dixie Home retail chain, which owned a whopping amount of 117 stores, scattered throughout half a dozen States in Southeastern USA.
In the following decades the Davis family sold nearly 20% of their stock in the company, however, continued to have a great deal of influence in both the company and the community. For instance, they’ve made some highly generous charitable investments in the Boy Scouts of America as well as local sport teams in Jacksonville, Florida. They eventually became involved in politics, representing Republican interest in Florida. The company as a whole was able to foster mutual political support nationwide, however, mostly prior to 1966 when the Federal Trade Commission forbid Winn Dixie from further expansion in the US for ten years.
By the 1980’s the retail food industry had changed considerably and Winn Dixie, Inc. was faced with a number of new challenges and competitors. For example, their greatest competitors have been Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Publix Super Markets Inc. and Food Lion Inc. By the 1990’s Winn-Dixie continued to experience a constant decline in profits. By the year 2000, the first president and CEO to be hired from outside the company, Allen Rowland, converted many of their stores to the Save Rite warehouse format; enlarged the stores that have performed well fiscally; and announced the closure of another eight percent of store outlets (approximately 11,000 layoffs.) In 2005, the company could no longer sustain itself and filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy.
In recent years they’ve made great strides in rebuilding the company. In recent news over the past 6 years Winn Dixie has earned praise for cleaner and better organized stores, as well as extensive remodeling and reopening of new and previously owned stores. Winn Dixie has been mentioned in a few songs, a couple of films and even a novel entitled “Because of Winn Dixie” by Kate Dicamillo published in 2000. A film adaptation of the novel was released in conjunction with their filled bankruptcy in 2005.
Head Quarters: 5050 Edgewood Court, Jacksonville, FL 32254 USA
Ownership: Public Company
Number of Stores: Approximately 485 combination food and drug stores
Geography: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi
Revenue: $7.2 Billion Fiscal Year ending 2010: Growth Rate: (1.6%); Net income: $28.9M
No. of Employees: Approximately 49, 000
Chairman, President, and CEO: Peter L. Lynch
Winn Dixie Marketplace; Save Rite (warehouse).
Health and Wellness, Organics, Food Safety, Beauty and Nutrition, Protein Needs, Diabetes Resource center, Gluten Free Living, Prescription and drug services, RX Connect Translate (for multi-lingual services), Catering.
Winn and Lovett; Chek; Winn Dixie; Valu Time.