The old Winn-Dixie store on Military Trail is getting a new name, a new look and an assortment of new products as part of a face lift designed to appeal to residents of the Hispanic neighborhoods that surround it in suburban West Palm Beach.
The grand opening comes after a daylong closure where dozens of employees worked around the clock to redesign the 55,678-square-foot space into an “authentic Hispanic grocery store,” complete with a new full-service Latin butcher shop, farmer’s market-style produce department, and new café serving breakfast, pastries, coffee drinks and hot and cold sandwiches.
The Military trail location is the new chain’s only Palm Beach County location. It is one of five new Fresco y Más stores opening in South Florida today. The four others are in Miami-Dade County.
All of the new stores open at 9 a.m. The first 500 shoppers at each store will receive a free 10 ounce bag of Cafe Bustelo. There will also be free samples, officials said.
Ian McLeod, who took over as President and CEO of Southeastern Grocers about 18 months ago, said the company began pursuing a Hispanic grocery line earlier this year after he visited Winn-Dixie stores in Miami-Dade County.
Although the Winn-Dixie stores were in predominately Hispanic neighborhoods, McLeod said they didn’t offer some of the products residents in those communities wanted.
“It didn’t feel like a Hispanic supermarket,” McLeod said. “I felt that it was not what the customer was looking for.”
Fresco y Más is focused on “trying to provide the Hispanic consumer a store that is right for them” without alienating other customers looking for non-Hispanic products, he said.
To do that, the chain has also focused on keeping prices low — on both Hispanic and non-Hispanic items. Southeastern Grocers has invested $100 million in lowering prices, McLeod said.
The Fresco y Más store in suburban West Palm Beach boasts an entire aisle where products cost $1. Each store has more than 600 items for $1, with products ranging from grocery and cleaning to health and beauty. In all, the company said it has lowered prices on more than 3,000 items throughout the store.
“That customer who is non-Hispanic could still come in here and get great value,” McLeod said.
Grand opening promotions include green peppers and tomatoes for 38 cents a pound, a 20-pound bag of long grain rice for $4.98 and whole top round for $1.78 a pound (with a $30 purchase).
When the new stores open this morning, shoppers will also be greeted with freshly painted yellow walls and an overall “cleaner, more enjoyable shopping experience,” the company said.
Fresco y Más opened its first store in June in Miami-Dade County. McLeod said the company was pleased with the store’s performance and decided to expand the new chain.
Five Winn-Dixie stores were selected to be converted based on the demographics of the surrounding area.
The Military Trail store is located less than two miles away from two of its competitor’s stores. El Bodegon, another Hispanic supermarket, has locations just off Military Trail on Lake Worth Road and Forest Hill Boulevard.
Asked how Fresco y Más compares to its competitors, including Publix’s Sabor, McLeod said: “We aren’t comparing ourselves with anyone. We are just making sure we target what is right for the customer.”