| Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Winn-Dixie will open a grocery store next month in the former Earth Fare location in Lakewood Ranch.
The Lakewood Ranch store is one of four slated to open Nov. 11 in Florida by Southeastern Grocers Inc., the parent of Winn-Dixie and other grocery chains.
Earth Fare, an organic and specialty grocer, began closing most of its Florida stores in February after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Winn-Dixie also is replacing Earth Fare locations in Boynton Beach and Jacksonville, as well as in a former Lucky’s Market in Gainesville.
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The Lakewood Ranch store is in the Green at Lakewood Ranch mixed-use center at 11525 State Road 70 E.
The openings come at a time of heated competition in the grocery business. Southeastern Grocers said the new stores will introduce new signature categories, a wide product selection and specialty items in each department.
“We’ve expanded our product assortments in these new stores to ensure our customers have fresh, quality products at the right price for every meal,” Anthony Hucker, president/CEO of Southeastern Grocers, said in a statement. “As we expand our footprint, we are able to support more communities throughout Florida and be the grocer our customers and communities can always count on.”
Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers – also parent of the Bi-Lo, Harveys Supermarkets and Fresco y Más chains – said last month that it had filed an S-1 draft registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a possible initial public offering of common stock.
The company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2018 and closed nearly 100 underperforming stores, including several in the Sarasota-Manatee region. It was released from bankruptcy after restructuring debt that year.
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Winn-Dixie said other amenities at the new stores include new seafood departments with a variety of fresh, locally caught selections including Florida Keys lobster, Florida stone crab and shrimp. Fresh bakery selections will include a variety of artisan-baked breads, delicious pastries and desserts.