Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo headquarters to be in Jax

900 jobs saved; 100 more jobs coming to River City


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nine-hundred people will keep their jobs in Jacksonville after the mayor announced Monday a partnership between Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo, which have completed their merger.

The large supermarket chains announced that the River City will serve as the location for their combined company headquarters.

Winn-Dixie stores were sold to Bi-Lo in December for $560 million.

Not only does the headquarters being based in Jacksonville save 900 jobs, but it also adds another 100 new high-wage jobs. Mayor Alvin Brown said those jobs come with an average $84,000 salary.

Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll joined Brown for the announcement. Carroll, a Jacksonville native, attributes what the city has to offer as the factor that sealed the deal for Bi-Lo's decision.

"No income tax, a great quality of life, weekends on our wonderful First Coast beaches and Sundays rooting for the Jags," Carroll said.

Brown used to work at Winn-Dixie before he got into politics and feels pride toward the partnership.

"I think we're a very business-friendly city," he said. "Winn-Dixie's already here. We have a strong corporate community."

Bi-Lo qualified for a $1.04 million grant through Florida's Quick Response Training program. The funds will be used toward training costs for existing and new employees. A state Quick Action Closing Fund incentive of $3.6 million will offset costs associated with relocation expenses and equipment purchases.

On the local level, the city of Jacksonville proposal includes a revenue enhancement value.

"We're giving them $2 million over the next 10 years," Brown said. "We hit that $93 million of capital investment first."

Winn-Dixie is a Jacksonville staple and has been here for more than 70 years.

Brown said shoppers' experiences will only get better around Jacksonville as a result of the deal.