Jeremiah Carter goes to the conveniently located Winn-Dixie on Tharpe Street to pick up fresh produce and a money order to pay his rent each month.
Now the Florida A&M University senior will have to find a new place to buy produce, because that Winn-Dixie —and 29 others in Florida — are closing.
“This is really upsetting, not only for me but for all the students that depend on this store due to not having transportation,” Carter said.
Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., has filed for bankruptcy. This will be the company’s third bankruptcy filing since 2005, each of which included store closures and layoffs.
Some Winn-Dixie employees were caught off-guard by the recent announcement.
“It’s crazy because nobody saw this coming. There weren’t any signs showing that we weren’t making good sales considering we’re always busy. Now we are all left without a job,” said Miranda Nancy, who works at the Tharpe Street store.
The company announced March 15 it is closing 94 underperforming stores nationwide as part of a restructuring support agreement, which is a legal plan companies undergo when filing bankruptcy.
The 94 closures also include Harvey’s and Bi-Lo locations, two other supermarket chains also under Southeastern Grocers.
According to Southeastern Grocers’ corporate communications manager, Joe Caldwell, the closing of these stores will reduce the company’s debt by $500 million.
The stores will be closed by April 30. However, the store located in the plaza at Sout Magnolia Drive and Park Avenue will remain open and it will be the only Winn-Dixie in the Tallahassee are to remain open.
Current associates can request to be transferred to that location, but it’s not guaranteed that the transfer will be granted depending on the amount of available positions.
Tallahassee resident Jaida Joyner said she’s sad to see the Winn-Dixie close because she knows while being employed at a nearby apartment complex catering to students, it’s really going to hurt the pockets of students that can’t afford to shop at more expensive stores nearby.
“Their prices are always so student-friendly, and everyone loves their BOGO deals. Not to mention they’re so much cheaper compared to places like Publix and Walmart,” Joyner said.
There hasn’t been any information released yet on what will replace the Tharpe Street location.