By Sharon Still

SWEETBAY CLOSINGTraditional grocery store choices are slimming down after the recent announcement from – Bi-Lo Holdings, LLC (“Bi-Lo Holdings”), parent company of BI-LO and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, that it purchased 165 Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid’s supermarkets from its Delhaize America parent and is rebranding 17 Sweetbay stores throughout much of the Tampa-St. Pete, Largo and Bradenton areas.

Six of the 17 affected stores that have closed and are expected to re-open as newly branded Winn Dixie stores on Friday, April 4 are in the Osprey Observer readership area including stores in Lithia at 16751 FishHawk Blvd., Riverview at 6929 U.S. Hwy. 301 S. and 10579 Big Bend Rd., Apollo Beach at 252 Harbor Village Lane, Ruskin at 1023 Hwy. 41 N. and Valrico at 2535 S.R. 60 E.

According to Winn-Dixie spokesperson, Mayra Hernandez, the existing Winn-Dixie stores will remain open as it SWEETBAY RVstands presently. “While the name on the storefronts is changing, the people running them don’t have to. We’ve invited Sweetbay associates to join the Winn-Dixie family and look forward to exchanging what it means to be local as we work together to run even greater stores,” stated Joey Medina, Winn-Dixie’s regional vice president. “Upon re-opening as a Winn-Dixie, we believe customers will be pleasantly surprised to see that we have been working hard to provide the fresh, quality products they want at prices they can afford,” said Medina. “Plus, we will offer a suite of in-store savings programs, like the fuelperks! Reward Program, which lets customers earn incredible savings at participating Shell stations every time they shop with their Winn-Dixie Customer Reward Card.”

Other savings programs at Winn-Dixie include the aforementioned Customer Reward Card that allows customers to take advantage of the best deals at checkout, dependable deals that freeze prices on hundreds of essential items for a 10-week period, generic prescription savings, plus discounts on many name-brand medications, weekly savings solutions like buy one, get one and e-coupons.

Reactions from area residents are varied. Riverview resident Allison Meadows, a regular Sweetbay shopper, said she will just go to Winn Dixie now. “I like the sales at Winn-Dixie,” she commented. For more information, please visit and


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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.