Monday, March 17, 2014

Sweet deals at Sweetbay as grocery store discounts food before Winn-Dixie conversion

Sweetbay, 5802 14th St. W, will close Saturday and reopen
March 29 as Winn-Dixie. File photo by Paul Videla
Shoppers looking for a way to cut down their grocery bill will be in luck this week if they head to Sweetbay.

The first round of stores to convert to Winn-Dixie are set to close Saturday for a remodeling, and discounts on food are continuing to be offered. For stores closing Saturday, private label brands  like Hannaford, My Essentials, Taste of Inspirations are 50 percent off this week with the exception of bread, milk and eggs.

Products in the produce, deli, bakery and meat departments are now 25 percent off. Good luck finding any of the private label food left over.

During a trip to the Sarasota Midtown Plaza Sweetbay on Sunday, the 50-percent products were all but picked over. I couldn't find any of the usual private label items I buy like soup and spaghetti sauce. However, the deals in the meat, produce and deli/bakery departments are worth it. Grab some meat and an ice cream cake for cheap and stick it in the freezer for later. The Sweetbay location I went to was also thin on supply of hamburger and chicken, but there was still enough fresh items to go around. I saved more than $15 just from the discounts, so get it while it's gone.

Bradenton stores at 5802 14th St. W, and 2501 Cortez Road West, are due to close Saturday and reopen March 28 as well as Sarasota stores at 2881 Clark Road, 4230 Bee Ridge Road and 1325 S. Tamiami Trail. Stores at 5805 Manatee Avenue in Bradenton and 515 7 St. W in Palmetto are expected to close March 29.

Employees will be working to transform the store in a week’s time, keeping the layout of the stores similar to Sweetbay, and receive training on doing things the Winn-Dixie way.

“Upon reopening as a Winn-Dixie, we believe customers will be pleasantly surprised to see that we have been working hard to provide the fresh, quality products they want at prices they can afford,” said Joey Medina, Winn-Dixie’s regional vice president, in a news release. “Plus, we will offer a suite of in-store savings programs, like the “fuelperks!” rewards program, which lets customers earn incredible savings at participating Shell stations every time they shop with their Winn-Dixie Customer Reward Card.”

The conversion is part of the acquisition of 30 Sweetbay stores by Bi-Lo, parent company of Winn-Dixie. The Tampa headquarters for Sweetbay will close at the end of the conversion while employees in good standing at stores that remain open will be offered to stay on with Winn-Dixie. To avoid monopoly concerns, the Federal Trade Commission ordered to have another chain acquire locations, resulting in 12 Sweetbay stores in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina to be sold to Rowes IGA Supermarkets,HAC, Inc., W. Lee Flowers & Co., Inc. and Food Giant.

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