Winn-Dixie Establishment

Winn-Dixie now owns over 700 stores across the southern states of the United States and in the Bahamas. It once was its own company, after many acquisitions in its early history.

Today, Winn-Dixie is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southeastern Grocers and BI-LO, with BI-LO buying Winn-Dixie out in 2011.

Winn-Dixie owns over 700 Winn-Dixie supermarket stores in the United States but is part of a larger company.

For most of its history, Winn-Dixie has dominated the supermarket world in the United States, but it is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southeastern Grocers.

This occurred in 2011 after BI-LO, a Southeastern Grocers chain purchased Winn-Dixie in their own acquisition.

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What stores does Winn-Dixie have?

Although Winn-Dixie is not its own standalone company anymore, it does still operate over 500 stores in the United States.

Most of those stores are located in Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Alabama. The company has been in existence since 1925 and was formerly owned by the Davis family.

Today, the Davis family still owns up to 35 percent of the company’s shares. The store has not always been called Winn-Dixie and didn’t get that name until 1955.

Between 1925 and 1955, the Davis family gave the chain a number of different names depending on who they had acquired at the time.  

Prior to 1955, the store had been called Winn & Lovett and was traded on the S&P 500 as well as the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker WIN and on the NASDAQ exchange with the ticker WINN.

By 2011, the company had been purchased by BI-LO and Southeastern, and the ticker symbols were removed.

The company BI-LO moved its own headquarters to Jacksonville, Florida, the home of the original Winn-Dixie headquarters, and BI-LO became fully Southeastern Grocers.

What is the early history of Winn-Dixie?

The early history of Winn-Dixie began just before 1925 when the Davis family opened their own little mercantile. The Davis family clearly had some business acumen from its earliest days.

Serving people with quality products was always the main goal of the company, but like any business, the business needed to be successful.

At the time, the company held tabs for their mercantile customers, who would pay when they could.

When the economy began moving towards a cash flow economy, business began to suffer. The Davis family saw that growth would be needed for the business to excel.

Grow they did, with a purchase in 1925 for $10 thousand dollars and a store called Rockmoor Grocery.

By 1927, the store became known as Table Supply and was a chain that was four stores deep.

Within four more years, the Davis’ would purchase the Lively Stores for an additional $10 thousand and launch a chain of 33 Table Supply locations across Florida.

How did Table Supply become Winn-Dixie?

Woman Shopping for organic fruits

Table Supply became Winn-Dixie after multiple acquisitions between 1939 and 1955. The Winn name came into effect in 1939 when the Winn & Lovett chain was purchased, which was a total of 73 locations.

Then, the Davis brothers owned 51 percent of the chain and became headquartered in Jacksonville.

The Winn & Lovett company grew by another 31 stores in 1945 when they purchased the Steiden Stores at the end of World War II.

Also purchased were the Margaret Ann Stores which would add an additional 46 locations to the Winn & Lovett brand. Winn & Lovett got back on the New York Stock Exchange by 1952.

The next acquisition would be the Penney Stores acquisition of 1955, which also included acquiring Eden Stores and Ballentine Stores.

By 1955, the Dixie home chain of 117 locations was purchased, and the chain became Winn-Dixie.

More acquisitions would follow with the North Carolina-based Ketner Milner Stores, H.G. Hill in Mississippi and Louisiana, and the King Stores chain out of Georgia.

What other stores has Winn-Dixie purchased?

It would be 1967 when the Winn-Dixie brand would hit the Bahamas, and this happened with the purchase of the City Markets chain.

Here there were 12 locations in the Bahamas that included Caribbean grocery acquisitions of Super Value Food Stores and Grand Union.

Some of those were sold out to investors in the Bahamas by 2006, but the Winn-Dixie brand continues in the Caribbean today.

The Buddies Supermarket brand out of Fort Worth in Texas would be the next stop for Winn-Dixie by 1976.

That brought Winn-Dixie to New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Cincinnati would be the next acquisition when Winn-Dixie purchased Thriftway Food Drug and more locations would be added.

Is the Davis family still involved with Winn-Dixie?

busy supermarket

The Davis family is still involved with Winn-Dixie and maintains at least 31 percent of its holdings.

They are a prominent Florida family with work in politics and charities all across the country, and also support the Jacksonville Jaguars in the National Football League (NFL) as their official grocer.

The family saw the company undergo bankruptcy in 2005, a move that would result in a larger family and business decisions.

Those decisions would lead to the eventual acquisition by Southeastern Grocers. Additionally, the Davis family maintains a stronghold with conservative politics in Florida, supporting candidates such as former U.S.

Treasury Secretary Donald Regan and U.S. Senator Claude Pepper. One member of the Davis family, James Davis, has been reputed to begin programs for Winn-Dixie to support black colleges and universities in the United States.

Other involvements of the Davis family through Winn-Dixie have been with the Stetson University School of Business, a Davis Hall that was built in 1967 to nurture upcoming entrepreneurs.

The family is also very involved in the Boy Scouts of America, and have donated generously to the Central Florida Council.

They also have camps such as Camp La-No-Che and land known as the Winn-Dixie Scout Reservation that is part of their work with the Boy Scouts of America.

Why did Winn-Dixie sell its stores?

businessmen in agreement

Winn-Dixie did not sell its stores and still partially owns all of its locations today, it simply is not the sole owner of those stores.

Although the business has dominated in its day, it has undergone difficult times like any other business in America.

The store had to close 76 of its Oklahoma and Texas locations in 2002 in order to make its own operating ends meet.

By 2004, another 156 stores closed with 111 of those being closed in the Midwest.

Approximately 20 of those stores were Thriftway stores purchased in the 1990s in Cincinnati. Winn-Dixie hasn’t always chosen to sell as their way out of financial trouble.

In the 1990s, 40 Atlanta-based locations were converted to Save Rite Grocery Warehouse, a name that was discontinued by 2011.

Prior to that name being dropped, the company underwent bankruptcy in 2005 and company restructured.

That restructuring would limit Winn-Dixie stores to five southern states and some locations in the Bahamas, leaving the brand with less stores than it had at its peak through the 1950s.

What was the result of those difficulties for Winn-Dixie?

The result of those difficulties was an acquisition of Winn-Dixie by BI-LO. The reorganization was filed with the Florida Bankruptcy courts and the company came out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The purchase to BI-LO would be complete by 2011 with a sticker price of $530 million.

It was at that time that BI-LO became the parent of Winn-Dixie and it would close the Davis family ownership of 67 years for good.

Today there are over 700 stores in the country and in the Bahamas, and it is a company that employs over 63 thousand people.

Those brands are owned by Southeastern Grocer which also owns the restaurant chain of Harveys.

Another bankruptcy came to the company in 2018, when Southeastern filed for bankruptcy.

Over 30 Winn-Dixie stores were lost in that financial problem, along with over 50 stores closed between BI-LO and Harveys.

This bankruptcy decreased debt loads by $500 million and the company continues today.

Is Winn-Dixie in financial trouble?

closing store

There have been more closures and losses to the Winn-Dixie brand since the first bankruptcy filed by the company and the Davis family in 2011.

The business when purchased by Southeastern has undergone another bankruptcy, and stores continue to close today.

Several stores were sold in 2018 to Mitchell Grocery Corp and some BI-LO locations and Harveys were also sold to the Piggly Wiggly brand.

By the end of May 2018, the bankruptcy details were completed with $522 million being exchanged for Southeastern Grocers equity.

The bankruptcy ended with Southeastern Grocers down by 704 locations and some new shareholders.

Today, Winn-Dixie is not in financial trouble as its operations are decided upon by Southeastern Grocers. Still, stores continue to close today.

Do you shop at Winn-Dixie?

Winn-Dixie is a family favorite supermarket for many Americans, typically in the southern states for many reasons.

The store today still offers fresh food and quality, and team members are considered a significant talent.

Although the company has undergone hard times, so has every country in America.

Winn-Dixie has owned and lost many stores in its day, and the values that built that are still very much present in Winn-Dixie stores today.

If you like Winn-Dixie, keep shopping there. This is a brand that is not going to close its doors completely any time soon.