Sunday, April 28, 2019

Un Tipo Diferente de Winn-Dixie - ¡Es Fresco y Más!



Winn-Dixie #2267 / Fresco y Más #2267
7382 Curry Ford Road, Orlando, FL - Curry Ford East

     ¡Hola a todos! As you've probably seen in recent years, Winn-Dixie's parent company Southeastern Grocers has been trying some different things to keep the company afloat. One common practice that SEG used quite often prior to the 2018 bankruptcy was converting low performing Winn-Dixie and BI-LO stores into SEG's two other banners: discount-oriented Harvey's and Hispanic-oriented Fresco y Más. Converting stores in this manner is usually seen as a desperate means of survival by a struggling retailer, but I guess there are sometimes when this maneuver can prove to be successful (at least for the short term). While the success of the Harvey's conversions haven't been the greatest, SEG has seemingly found some success in their conversion of stores to Fresco y Más. As of early 2019, Fresco y Más has a total of 26 stores, with only one Fresco y Más store closing since the brand was launched in 2016 in Hialeah. Also, since SEG's 2018 bankruptcy, the only store conversions that have occurred have been from Winn-Dixie to Fresco y Más. Harvey's conversions have all but stopped since the bankruptcy, which leads me to believe many of those conversions have been a flop.


     The Fresco y Más store we'll be looking at today is located in South Orlando at the intersection of Curry Ford and Goldenrod Roads in the Azalea Park neighborhood. South Orlando, especially the area surrounding Semoran Boulevard near its intersection with the 408, has a very high Hispanic population. As such, this area is home to many Hispanic-oriented supermarkets, including Sedano's, Bravo, and Presidente Supermarket (coming soon), in addition to Fresco y Más representing the large Hispanic grocery chains. In addition to those big names, this area also contains many little independent Hispanic stores, but those stores typically focus on produce and meat more than anything else (in addition to being quite small). With the right demographics, it's no surprise that Winn-Dixie chose to convert this store into Orlando's only Fresco y Más so far. While this is the only Fresco y Más store in Orlando, Fresco y Más also operates two stores in Tampa. The rest of the Fresco y Más stores are located in South Florida, specifically in the greater Miami area. From looking at the Fresco y Más store locator, it looks like Winn-Dixie converted the majority of their Miami locations to Fresco y Más, especially in the western reaches of Miami-Dade County.


     As for this location, Winn-Dixie originally opened this store in 1980. Prior to the conversion to Fresco y Más in 2018, it was pretty apparent this store opened in 1980, as it retained its original Winn-Dixie logo all the way until the Fresco y Más conversion began. Even though this store had the old logo for so long, it did receive a remodel to the Marketplace decor sometime in the 90's. That was also the decor this store sported until 2018, when the Marketplace decor was finally swapped out for that famous yellow color we all know and love...

     Anyway, Fresco y Más opened their Orlando location on April 18, 2018 with a grand fanfare. The grand opening included giveaways, cooking demonstrations, live music, and an appearance by the Fresco y Más car (and the car can be seen here at a grand opening). And if that wasn't enough of a party, the festivities later spilled outside the store on opening day! I can't think of too many other examples of a supermarket parking lot being turned into a dance floor!


     OK, if you clicked through those videos I linked to, that was probably enough dancing for one AFB post! Getting back on track now, we head through the front doors and turn to the right. Doing such, we find ourselves in this store's produce department. The layout of this store is identical from the Winn-Dixie days, following the usual pre-Marketplace era layout seen in most older Winn-Dixie stores.


     As you can tell, Fresco y Más uses the same obnoxiously bright yellow version of the Down Down interior as Harvey's Supermarket. The main difference with Fresco y Más's version of this interior is that Spanish subtitles are included along with the main department name on the walls.




     Leaving produce behind us, the aisle that runs down the right side wall of the building is home to beer and wine. Additionally, bulk bags of rice are stored in the center of this aisle. Getting into the grocery aisles is where you really begin to feel how different this store is from the average Winn-Dixie, as there are a lot of less common Hispanic foods carried here that you'd never find in the usual Winn-Dixie.



     As is usually seen in recently remodeled stores under all of SEG's banners, Fresco y Más also has the $1 Zone. Like I've said before, I really like the concept of a $1 Zone. This part of the store is an impulse buy paradise. For Fresco y Más, the product selection in its $1 Zone was also tailored to reflect this store's appeal to Hispanic shoppers, offering a variety of $1 versions of Latin drinks, snacks, cookies, and cleaning products in addition to the usual fare.



     In the back right corner of the store we find the butcher counter, complete with the black tile blacksplash common throughout SEG's recent remodels.


     Returning to the front of the store, here's a look across the front of the building, looking from produce toward the front end.


     Four our first look into the grocery aisles, here we have a peek at the drink aisle, aisle 2. The aisle markers here are identical to the ones used at Harvey's, which are a different style from the ones used at Winn-Dixie. Typically with aisle signs designed like this one, the placards on the left correspond with products on that side's shelves, with the same being true for the placards on the right. Here, however, the placards on the left are in English, with the placards on the right being the Spanish translation of the corresponding word or words on the left. So even with six slots, each aisle has only three categories represented on each sign.


     It's very, very yellow in here! Not only are the walls that crazy yellow color, but the endcap price signs and shopping carts also match. The fact that many of the products in this image also have yellow packaging doesn't help the situation much either!


     Snack foods can be found here in aisle 3.


     Here's a quick look across this store's front end as we work our way further to the left side. At least this part of the store uses white walls to counteract all of that yellow in the rest of the store.

     Next up, some more photos from the grocery aisles:





     FROZEN. One thing I will say about this decor is these large department names make for easy location of the departments as one wanders throughout the store. It's hard to miss these giant letters!


     Frozen foods are located in the center of the store. It looks like Winn-Dixie threw in some new coolers for this remodel as well...


     ...well, new coolers for the majority of the frozen food department at least. Heading over to aisle 10, it's clear that the one side of this aisle has older coolers than the other.


     Returning to the back wall, we next find the lunch meats.


     Following the lunch meats is dairy, with the milk specifically located along the back wall. The remainder of the dairy products can be found around the corner in aisle 15, which we will see near the end of this post. 

     As you can see, this store was pretty busy for a weekday afternoon, something I can't say about many Winn-Dixie stores in general. And it's not like this is the only grocery store in the area either, as within two miles of this store are two Publix stores, two Walmart Neighborhood Markets, and a Sedano's.


     Laundry detergent and soap can be found here in aisle 13. Peeking out in the background are the deli and bakery departments, as well as the lunch counter. That just so happens to be where we're headed next...


     Pictured here, the front left corner of the store is home to the deli and bakery. In addition to that, a new lunch counter was also added during the Fresco y Más remodel. The lunch counter is actually one of the major new features as part of the Fresco y Más remodel, and is portrayed as one of the store's main draws.


     At most of the Hispanic-oriented supermarkets I've been to in Florida, the deli and bakery departments tend to be pretty small in order to focus more on prepared foods and a lunch counter. While the lunch counter is the star of the stage here, Fresco y Más still decided to offer a normal sized deli and bakery here as well, in line with the offerings from a typical Winn-Dixie.


     Speaking of that lunch counter, here it is. Called the "Cocina" (meaning "kitchen" in Spanish), the lunch counter offered a variety of prepared Hispanic foods. The food from the Cocina could be purchased a la carte, however there was also a lunch special that consisted of an entree with two sides for $5.98, the entree changing daily. I thought that was a pretty good deal for lunch. Had it not been 9:30 in the morning during my visit here (too early for me to take a lunch break), I probably would have tried something from the Cocina. I'm sure I'll be out this way again for one reason or another, so I can always stop back to try something. The food looked pretty good from what I saw walking by.

     Anyway, in addition to the food counter, some tables were set up in front of the counter where you could eat your lunch. Like I said, it was a bit early for most people to be picking up lunch during my visit here, but I'm sure these tables get some use. The lunch counters at Bravo and Sedano's are usually pretty crowded, so I'd be surprised if that wasn't the case here.


     Here's a view that's a bit more pulled back, showing the Cocina from a distance. Like I said this store had a rather large bakery department, including a selection of Hispanic baked goods in addition to the usual fare.


     While the bakery counter is located amongst the deli and Cocina just out of frame to the left, the bakery department sign got pushed off to this side wall above the coolers for the refrigerated cakes.


     Before we begin to leave this store, the last thing we have to see is the remainder of the dairy department in aisle 15.


     Now that we've circled the sales floor, here are a few more photos of the front end to finish up this tour:



     While many of these banner conversions were a last-ditch effort to save some failing Winn-Dixie stores, SEG seems to have found some success with Fresco y Más. In a company that seems to have trouble figuring out what it wants to do going forward, it's nice to see something positive coming from one of the brands.

     As time goes on we'll probably see a few more Fresco y Más conversions trickle out from SEG. We probably won't see conversions in droves like we saw prior to the 2018 bankruptcy, but Fresco y Más has clearly proven a small niche for itself. I will say, this store did clean up well in the remodel. While I'm not a fan of the yellow color chosen for these remodels, this conversion was done with a bit more care (and money) than the Harvey's conversion we saw in Cocoa. Overall, I think Winn-Dixie did a good job with this store, and I think cleaning this place up and changing the format has really helped.


     While I linked to it earlier, here's a quick screengrab of this store as it looked prior to the remodel, still displaying that really old Winn-Dixie logo. There's no denying this was a tired old Winn-Dixie prior to the remodel, and that Fresco y Más will help this store live "la vida buena" for a while longer.

And yes, let's finish off with just a little more dancing.

So that's all I have for now. Until the next post,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger

3 comments:

  1. Well I'm glad to see SEG having some success in this Fresco y Mas store in Orlando! After visiting the Sedanos at Curry Ford and Semoran, you can tell there is definitely a very large Hispanic population in South Orlando. This Fresco y Mas actually looked a little cleaner than the "Albertdano's". I still say that yellow is awful, but if shoppers aren't bothered by it, then SEG has a winner!

    That dancing in the parking lot reminds me of a Youtube video I saw concerning a Northwest Albertsons in 1997 :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2up1Vw36UMg&t=422s

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    1. I can't say how this store was kept up in the Winn-Dixie days, but as a Fresco y Mas it's definitely clean and cared for. I'd say Fresco y Mas was nicer than Sedano's, although Sedano's wasn't too bad. SEG did figured out something right with Fresco y Mas!

      I wish you could have that much fun at an Albertsons these days - they even built a stage for that too!

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  2. It really doesn't look that bad, even with the yellow. I think the new floors and display cases probably helped. Looks like a well kept and busy store, and I'm glad to see that it seems to be doing good.

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