Mayor says Winn-Dixie closing is ‘done deal’

Published 6:28 pm Saturday, January 9, 2016

Mayor George Evans said the closing of Winn-Dixie on Highland Avenue is a done deal.

Evans said he’s spoken to several people, including the property owners, and that closing appears to be over the building’s lease.

“They [Winn-Dixie] are not interested at this junction in saving it,” Evans said.

Winn-Dixie spokeswoman Della Barber told the Times-Journal on Tuesday that the decision was not made lightly.

The store has approximately 70 employees and together with the other Winn-Dixie on Dallas Avenue generated $599,120 in sales tax revenue last year.

Barber declined to discuss specifics Thursday about why the store was closing Feb. 10 but reiterated that it wasn’t an easy choice.

“While closing stores is never easy for any retailer, we have made this difficult decision so we can reinvest in what matters most for our customers — providing the quality, service and value they have come to expect from us,” Barber said. “From time to time, the successful execution of our strategy will require us to make the difficult decision to close certain stores.”

Barber said the company was working to find jobs for employees at other stores.

Evans said city leaders would probably be blamed for the closing but that there’s only so much that can influence private business decisions.

“At the end of the day, some things we don’t know until after that fact,” Evans said. “We’ve gotten some information that it’s a done deal. We just do what we can do and at the end of the day some things are just over our heads.”

Efforts to reach the property owners and managers Retail Specialists, LLC, out of Birmingham were unsuccessful.

Selma and Dallas County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sheryl Smedley said she hopes another grocery can be recruited to the property.