Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Rarest Winn-Dixie Interior

Winn-Dixie #364
3320 SE Salerno Road, Stuart, FL - Salerno Village

     ***Update 8/7/18 - The rare Winn-Dixie interior that is the subject of this post was removed in a remodel that took place in July 2018. While the rare decor is now gone, at least these photos are still here to document it.***

     After Winn-Dixie's Marketplace era came to an around 2000, an era which involved the construction of hundreds of new stores throughout Florida and the southeast, Winn-Dixie's new store construction slowed down dramatically. Between the end of the Marketplace era around 2000 and the bankruptcy in 2005, Winn-Dixie was only opening a handful of new stores per year (if that). It was during that time period where Winn-Dixie introduced the Purple/Maroon interior as a way to refresh many of remaining older stores that never got a remodel to the Marketplace format. However, the small number of new stores Winn-Dixie opened from the retirement of the Marketplace interior until the bankruptcy received a special interior primarily used in ground-up built stores (although a few special stores that got deluxe remodels during that era also received this interior). That special rare interior will be the subject of this post. This Winn-Dixie in Stuart is one of (if not) the very last Winn-Dixies to still have this interior completely intact. Over the last decade, the few stores that had this interior have either closed or were chosen as some of the lucky few to receive thorough remodels. Before jumping into the details about this specific Winn-Dixie, I have included a short list of all of the stores I know of (meaning this list is not exhaustive, but I think I got most of them) that received this rare interior we will be taking an extensive look at shortly, and the fate of each store:

Winn-Dixie stores that received the Pre-Bankruptcy Deluxe Purple/Maroon interior:
  • Winn-Dixie #2 – Jacksonville, FL (CR 210) – Given a Transformational remodel in 2011
  • Winn-Dixie #5 - Ponte Vedra Beach, FL - This was the first Deluxe Purple/Maroon format store to open, opening in a former Winn-Dixie building that had been empty for two years. Remodeled to The Green Interior around 2014/2015-ish.
  • Winn-Dixie #6 (2003-2010) / #7 (2016-present) – Jacksonville, FL (Baymeadows) – Closed in 2010, Reopened in 2016 as the first deluxe “Down Down” interior store.
  • Winn-Dixie #135 - Green Cove Springs, FL - Remodeled to the post-bankruptcy interior in the late 2000s
  • Winn-Dixie #290 – Fort Lauderdale, FL – Remodeled to The Green Interior in 2014
  • Winn-Dixie #364 – Stuart, FL - Remodeled to the Down Down interior in July 2018
  • Winn-Dixie #390 – Riviera Beach, FL – Closed in 2014
  • Winn-Dixie #667 – Wauchula, FL – A Marketplace era store severely damaged by Hurricane Charley in 2004. This store reopened in 2005 after a heavy remodel, which included the use of the rare Deluxe Purple/Maroon interior, the only non-ground up built store I know of to get this interior. This store closed in early 2016 in favor of a new store in the former Sweetbay on the other side of town.
  • Winn-Dixie #2200 - Winter Garden, FL - Closed during the bankruptcy.
  • Winn-Dixie #2207 – St. Cloud, FL – Remodeled to the Post-Bankruptcy interior in the late 2000s
  • Winn-Dixie #2215 – Orlando, FL (Apopka-Vineland) – Remodeled to the Post-Bankruptcy interior in the late 2000s

     As for the store that will be the subject of this post, this Winn-Dixie opened in 2004. It replaced a much older Winn-Dixie that dated back to 1976, located at this same site (the old store was located in right half of the parking lot of the current store). With a 2004 opening date, this store was one of the last new Winn-Dixies to open before the bankruptcy the next year. The store model you see here was the most common design used for new build Winn-Dixie stores constructed between 2000-2005, although there were some other small variations to this look out there. While not the most exciting exterior in the world, this store does look fairly modern from the outside. Personally, I think this store model looks a lot like a boxier version of an early 2000's Albertsons.

     So let's go on inside and take a look at the rarest Winn-Dixie interior...

     ...but first, here's a store directory that was on one of the shopping carts to give everyone some kind of idea about the store's layout. Notice how in the store's address, 'Salerno' is misspelled. Anyway, now for that rare interior:

     Immediately upon entering and turning to the right, you enter the bakery. This is typically the first good look of the Deluxe Purple/Maroon interior one gets upon first entering. The bakery here is in the front right corner, and the right side wall angles out into the deli before creating a wide pocket for produce in the back right corner, which we will be seeing shortly. Other than the old Winn-Dixie logo which pops up in some of the signage in this decor, Deluxe Purple/Maroon doesn't took too terribly dated. I don't know why Winn-Dixie spent the money to do fairy sizable remodels at five stores from this era. I think they should have put that money toward remodels at some of their really old stores, and saved these stores for last.

     Closeup of the bakery signage.

     Immediately next to the bakery is the deli.

     Looking back at the Bakery and Deli from produce. You can see in this photo how the wall angles toward the produce department to create a pocket in the back right corner for produce.

     Looking into the produce department from near the deli.

    Produce signage.

     This is looking into the back right corner of the store. You can see the old Winn-Dixie logo inlayed over that picture above the coolers.

     Moving along the back wall from produce, the first department you run into is "Land & Sea", the service counter for Meats and Seafood.

     Looking across the back of the store. The aisle markers and that "Customer Service" sign are the same ones that can be found in the more common standard Purple/Maroon interior. You can also see the wall signage for the meat department here, although somewhat blocked by the hanging signs.

     The first grocery aisle (which is unnumbered) is this one, home to the beer and wine. The beer coolers back up to the coolers in the produce department.

     Floral is located in this small island at the end of the beer and wine aisle.

     Looking across the front end, with the pharmacy in the background.

     The juice and soda aisle was very well stocked and very neat.

     Aisle 4.

      "Fresh Meats" sign, partially blocked by that Down Down promotional sign. As you've probably been able to tell from all of the promotional signage, Winn-Dixie was really pushing their Down Down thing earlier this year. They had hundreds of signs for it hanging from shelves and the ceiling. In the very beginning there were "Big Red Hand" balloons everywhere too! Down Down has died off a bit now, but it's still in place as Winn-Dixie and BI-LO's primary marketing campaign right now.

     Lots of Down Down signs in this aisle. This aisle, Aisle 6, also contains the first half aisle of Frozen Foods.

     This is the main frozen foods aisle. This aisle isn't numbered, and it lies between aisles 6 and 7 (I guess that makes this aisle 6 1/2 then?).

     Milk coolers lie straight ahead, with the rest of the dairy items (yogurt, cheese, butter, etc.) around the corner in the last aisle.

     Throughout the store, the Deluxe Purple/Maroon decor includes a lot of these pictures of tropical and beach scenes. I think this is supposed to be some kind of local flair feature to tie into Winn-Dixie's Florida roots.

     The last aisle, home to paper products and the remainder of the dairy department, including the "World of Cheese". This aisle is also unnumbered, and according to the numbering pattern should be aisle 12, although this store has a total of 15 or 16 aisles if you factor in all of the random unnumbered ones.

     Looking from the "World of Cheese" toward the back of the store. "Fresh Dairy" is what it says on the next sign.

     The final sign in the last aisle is for the "Luncheon Meats".

     And a final look at the back of the store before spending the rest of this post up front.

     In the front left corner of the store is the pharmacy. If you've been following recent news out of Winn-Dixie and Southeastern Grocers, they announced a series of pharmacy closures in late October 2016 and early November 2016. While the pharmacy at this store was not effected (at least I don't think it was - I haven't heard any news saying otherwise), a total of 29 Winn-Dixie pharmacies (that I know of) were closed during this time in the Jacksonville, Orlando, Lakeland, Tampa Bay, Pensacola, Palm Bay, and Fort Myers areas. 6 BI-LO pharmacies were also effected by this as well. According to Winn-Dixie, these closures were prompted due to "changing market conditions", with all prescriptions transferred to local CVS stores. Supposedly, pharmacy closures are something Winn-Dixie does to mark poorly performing stores, which could make closure of the effected stores more likely in the future. In the last few months, Winn-Dixie closed stores in Gainesville and Winter Park, but those are the only store closings I've heard of since the end of summer. With that news out of the way, let's get back to our look at this store...

     Looking back across the front end from the pharmacy. As is typical with many grocery stores these days, the Health and Beauty products are located in a few short aisles in front of the pharmacy, and run perpendicular the the main grocery aisles. In this photo you can see one of the health and beauty aisles.

    Another look across the front end.

     Behind Health and Beauty (and that giant pallet of water) is the customer service counter.

     Here you can see the customer service signage much better...

     And here you can see the customer service counter much better. 

     Between health and beauty and the registers was this open space, which was lightly filled with pallets and racks of sale items. That empty counter space to the left of the customer service desk looks to have been the previous home of the photo department.

     Books and magazines reside in that small alcove between the entrance and the former photo counter, behind the registers.

     A final look across the front end before we leave...

     Thank you for shopping your neighborhood Winn-Dixie. So that completes our interior tour of this store. Overall, this Winn-Dixie was very clean and well taken care of. In recent times, even during and after the bankruptcy, Winn-Dixie has not closed any of their 4 Martin County stores (2 in Stuart, including this one, 1 in Jensen Beach, and 1 in Hobe Sound), a fairly rare occurrence in these populated coastal counties where Publix has complete dominance of the market. Each Martin County Winn-Dixie has a Publix within 1 mile of it too, so they're doing something right around here.

     And lastly, a quick photo of the attached liquor store, located on the left side of the building.

     Bing Maps doesn't have any Bird's Eye aerial images available for this area, so we'll jump right ahead to the historic aerial images, courtesy of Google Earth:

Winn-Dixie #364 - 2016

Winn-Dixie #364 - 2009

Winn-Dixie #364 - 2004 - The new store had just opened when this image was taken. You can see the site of where the original Winn-Dixie was in the parking lot of the new store.

Former Winn-Dixie #245/Future Winn-Dixie #364 - 1999 - Here you can see the original store, store #245. That tiny old store was doing quite a bit of business back in '99!

     So that's all I have for this post. However, a quick programming note regarding the next feature post: The next feature post will not be going up two Sundays from now, it will go up the Tuesday after two Sundays from now (December 6th). That post will feature one of the most interesting former Albertsons Florida stores that exists! Don't miss it!

So until then,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger


  1. Winn-Dixie Pharmacy #364 remains open for business.

    Twelve underperforming BI-LO stores (1 in Georgia, 5 in North Carolina, and 6 in South Carolina) closed their pharmacies recently. One of the affected stores in North Carolina converted to Harvey's Supermarket this past week.

    Several Winn-Dixie stores in Louisiana closed their pharmacies also. I do not project Winn-Dixie to remain in Louisiana much longer.

    1. I don't know what happened, but your comment got marked by Blogger as spam and didn't publish. I just saw it now. I apologize for the late reply.

      Considering this store's pharmacy was not effected, that must mean this store is doing better than the others that lost their pharmacies during the pharmacy closure sweep. The Louisiana Winn-Dixie stores seem like a bunch that SEG could probably sell of to raise money for the rest of their core market stores.

  2. I'm starting to see a few parallels between Winn-Dixie and Albertsons in terms of their Florida operations. It seemed like both companies went into decline in the early-mid 2000's. I feel like Albertsons took really good care of their newer stores like 4463 in Orlando, but neglected some of the other ones like the Vero Beach store, #4314, and #4355. By the time some of those early 80's Albertsons reached the early 2000's, they looked and felt very outdated, and a couple of the last Albertsons stores I went into before Safeway moved in, (including Gainesville and Altamonte Springs), had an odor inside as soon as you entered the store.

    I seems like WD is focusing their attention on areas of Florida where they still have a strong following. While I've never been to Stuart, this town still likes Winn-Dixie, unlike Gainesville. Winn-Dixie still has a strong following in my home turf of Bay County too. I remember the local Winn-Dixie I grew up with in the Lynn Haven Shopping Center was remodeled at least a couple of times in my life. In the early 2000's it was given a remodel where self checkout was added as well as the nice wood flooring in the produce area.

    While this Stuart Winn-Dixie isn't particularly fancy on the outside, it's pretty cool on the inside. I like the wood trim at the periphery of the wall decor, and the cursive font on a few of the department signs. The 'Land and Sea' signage is different. I hope Winn-Dixie can hang in there with these nicer stores. As much as I like Publix, I really don't like monopolies. We have too much of that happening with power and cable companies as it is.

    1. I can see that comparison. I know before the Altamonte Springs Albertsons remodeled, people always complained that it felt very old and was showing signs of neglect. Other than a decor swap around 1999 and some light remodeling, Albertsons never did much to that building from when it was built until earlier this year. Albertsons was too focused on trying to build new stores during their last good years in Florida to bulk up against the competition, they really didn't do anything too extensive as far as upkeep to their older stores.

      It's impressive that the Stuart area/Martin County has been able to keep its 4 Winn-Dixies for so long without at least one closing since the bankruptcy. Martin County has 11 Publix stores and clearly dominates the county, but Winn-Dixie must have its niche. Also, Winn-Dixie hasn't invested in any of Martin County's 4 stores since the bankruptcy. The other Stuart store and the Hobe Sound store both still have the Marketplace interior, and the Jensen Beach W-D still has its original 70's exterior and logo, but the more common Purple/Maroon interior inside. Winn-Dixie does still have some Florida strongholds like the small rural towns in the center of the state where Publix doesn't have a presence, and parts of the Panhandle where Publix doesn't have much of a presence or is still fairly new (Publix never had a presence in Pensacola until 2008). Not too far from Panama City, Winn-Dixie opened a brand new store in Miramar Beach in 2014 - only the second new Winn-Dixie to open in Florida since the bankruptcy. Still, a few small pockets of stronger stores isn't going to help overcome all of the problems Winn-Dixie faces right now.

      I like the decor in this store. They incorporated lots of nice detailing like the wood trim you mention, and the shutters on the wall. The old Winn-Dixie logos are what makes this decor show its age. I'm glad I got to see this look before something happened to this store (be it a remodel or closure). I actually thought this store closed back in a 2014 closure wave, but I later realized I saw wrong thankfully. The newer and remodeled Winn-Dixies are nice, especially stores that received deluxe remodels after 2011. Publix is nice and all, but I too like to have options when I go grocery shopping.

    2. That's still a pretty impressive store count for Winn-Dixie in Martin County, especially considering they have to compete against 11 publixs!Bay County which is not as populated, has only 5 Publixs and 8 Winn-Dixies. I just took a look at the Miramar Beach,FL Winn-Dixie (#510) on Google and looked at the pictures customers had shared of the store, and that is a very nice Winn-Dixie! It had textured tile floors similar to Safeway, only they were reddish-brown. Very upscale looking! The interior also reminded me of an early 2000's plaza model Albertsons with the high ceilings revealing the metal roof with the hanging rectangular light fixtures. It's amazing how Winn-Dixie opened store so recently in the Panhandle. One of my favorite Winn-Dixies that I've been to is the one in Panama City Beach on the corner of Thomas Dr. and Magnolia Beach Rd. It has very nice southwestern style arches over the entrance. The interesting thing there, also is in the plaza just across Magnolia Beach Rd is anchored by a Publix that's was built on the site of a former Delchamps. Delchamps had about 3 or 4 Bay County stores, but they all closed sometime in the early/mid 2000's. Its too bad Albertsons didn't snap up that site before Publix got it, because in my opinion that part of Panama City Beach would have been a much nicer location for a second Bay County Albertsons (much better than Callaway). Publix hasn't even attempted to open a Callaway store. Unfortunately, by the time Delchamps left the area, Albertsons was also on the downward spiral, and #4355 closed up not long after.

    3. Outside of the Panhandle and the rural inland counties, it's not common to find counties where Winn-Dixie outnumbers Publix in store count. That new Winn-Dixie in Miramar Beach has a lot of very positive reviews. It features everything one of the Transformational stores would, but has the 2014-2015 Green Interior. The Transformational/deluxe remodel Winn-Dixies are very nice stores, and I recommend stopping by one if you ever find yourself near one. You won't feel like you're shopping at a Winn-Dixie when you're in one. The Thomas Road Winn-Dixie is very unique - I don't recall seeing any other like that. Actually, Albertsons did take over one Delchamps store in Pensacola (store #4496) after that chain went out of business. That store only lasted for 5 years though before Publix bought it. Panama City Beach seems like a much better area for Albertsons to have built a store. That Callaway store only lasted maybe 4 years or so, and the area isn't as busy.

    4. Winn-Dixie #667 – Wauchula, FL – A Marketplace era store severely damaged by Hurricane Charley in 2004. This store reopened in 2005 after a heavy remodel, which included the use of the rare Deluxe Purple/Maroon interior, the only non-ground up built store I know of to get this interior. This store closed in early 2016 in favor of a new store in the former Sweetbay on the other side of town.

      That one opened in 1996

    5. Correction: Bay County has 7 Winn-Dixies; still outnumbering Publix, but I'm sure Publix is chomping at the bit to secure more sites in that area, as it is undergrowing steady growth. Publix attempted a site in downtown Panama City, but a few local property owners weren't willing to give up their land.

  3. I agree with your point about the store looking like an Albertsons
    You know Kmart would close their Pharmacies right before closing stores.
    Just FYI

    1. Pharmacy closures are usually a sign of problems to come...

  4. I used to go to the old location when I lived nearby (can still smell it, that extreme musty food smell). By the time the new one opened I had moved further away so didn't go there much. Thanks for posting

    1. No problem! Even at 14 years old now, this Winn-Dixie is still very nice. It's held up much better than the original location probably would have all these years later!