Hispanic supermarket opens its first Central Florida store Tuesday
to help save bankrupt grocer Winn-Dixie has a name: Fresco y Mas.
Fresco y Mas will debut in Central Florida on Tuesday, transforming a Winn-Dixie store into a Hispanic supermarket with vibrant yellow signage, fresh-baked Cuban bread and a butcher slicing up special cuts of meat.
The store shows what the struggling supermarket chain is doing to regain relevancy and emerge from more than a decade of financial woes. The Fresco y Mas rebrand was announced as parent company Southeastern Grocers goes into bankruptcy — with plans to emerge in less than three months after erasing $500 million in debt and eliminating 94 underperforming stores, including three in the Orlando area.
So what’s the plan to save the bankrupt grocery company? Southeastern president and CEO Anthony Hucker said the strategy is to rebrand some stores under different banners such as Fresco y Mas to cater to specific neighborhoods.
“We know that no one community or customer is the same and we have a lot of banners, and we believe in grocery stores that are catered to each community,” Hucker said. “The strategy at Fresco y Mas is really simple — we try to provide them with a really authentic Hispanic shopping experience that truly reflects the specific needs of the Hispanic communities.”
Southeastern Grocers already introduced one of those different banners when it opened Harvey’s in the Pine Hills neighborhood in 2017. It was a chain that has opened in lower-income neighborhoods throughout the chain. However, the company announced that would be one of the underperforming stores slated to close.
More Winn-Dixie stores in Central Florida could be targeted for conversions, but Hucker declined to say which ones.
After the bankruptcy, Southeastern Grocers will still have 582 stores under the Winn-Dixie, Harvey’s, Bi-Lo and Fresco y Mas names.
The Fresco y Mas store slated to open at 7854 Curry Ford Road will sell pre-packaged goods and produce catering to Hispanic customers and will also have a butcher, cafe, bakery and deli with fresh foods such as arroz con gandules, flan and pork tamales.
The concept boosted sales at its early stores after it opened in Hialeah in 2016, prompting the company to open its first Tampa-area store last week.
Customers shop for meat at a Fresco y Mas supermarket that recently opened in Tampa. The grocery store comes Tuesday to Central Florida, making its debut at 7854 Curry Ford Road. CEO Anthony Hucker said the chain’s strategy is to rebrand some stores...