JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Within hours of TMZ reporting that Winn-Dixie was considering changing the name it’s used for more than 100 years, a spokesman for Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers said there are no immediate plans to do that.
TMZ reported that sources at Winn-Dixie said the chain is considering the name change because, “just like The Chicks, it deems the term ‘Dixie’ as problematic due to ties to the old south and its way of thinking.”
But Southeastern Grocers spokesman Joe Caldwell emailed comments to the Jacksonville Daily Record late Thursday: “While we have no immediate plans to rename this banner, we have always been and will continue to be responsive to the needs and concerns expressed by the communities we serve.”
Not only did The Dixie Chicks drop “Dixie” from its name, Lady Antebellum dropped “Antebellum,” Confederate statues and monuments are coming down in Jacksonville and across the country, and governments and school districts are considering changing the name of buildings amid continuing calls for racial justice most recently sparked by the death of George Floyd while in the custody of the Minneapolis police.
Caldwell’s email went on to say: “At Southeastern Grocers we’re committed to cultivating an inclusive culture and community that promotes belonging, inclusion and diversity. As such, we stand against racism and support the Black Lives Matter movement across our country.”
The manager of corporate communications’ email continued: “Our Winn-Dixie banner has proudly served our communities for nearly 100 years, however, many things have changed during that time. While we have no immediate plans to rename this banner, we have always been and will continue to be responsive to the needs and concerns expressed by the communities we serve.”
Winn-Dixie has been headquartered in Jacksonville since 1939 when the Davis’ family bought a controlling interest in Lovett’s grocery stores and renamed it Winn and Lovett. A few years later, it merged with a chain of Dixie home stores. It didn’t take long for the name to blend into Winn-Dixie.
The chain grew, spreading across the southeast. It became Florida’s first industrial corporation and retail chain to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Winn-Dixie was bought by Bi-Lo in 2011 and together became Southeastern Grocers, which continues to have its corporate headquarters in Jacksonville.
Shoppers at a Winn-Dixie store on Friday thought the name wasn’t a big deal.
“Maybe I’m not familiar enough with everything that happened or why it’s called Winn Dixie,” one man said. “I don’t see an issue with it. It’s a grocery store. It will still be a grocery store.”
" I just think it’s overboard,” Chuck Null said. “Everything’s just blown up out of proportion in my eyes.”