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Tuesday, Sep 02, 2014
Pasco Tribune

Dade City, Zephyrhills Sweetbays closing Saturday

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DADE CITY — Time is nearly up for two Sweetbay supermarkets in Dade City and Zephyrhills.

The stores are scheduled to close Saturday as part of a takeover of the Sweetbay grocery chain by Bi-Lo Holdings, the parent company of competitor Winn-Dixie.

The Dade City store, Sweetbay No. 1798, is at 12530 U.S. 301. The Zephyrhills store, Sweetbay No. 1872, is at 36538 State Road 54. Both are near existing Winn-Dixie stores, which led to the decision to close them.

The Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce is taking steps to help find a tenant for the soon-to-be empty building in Dade City.

“Our mission is to see what can we do to help the company that owns the building and the broker that is charged with leasing it to fill it up with something to fill the void of the jobs that have been lost,” said John Moors, executive director of the chamber.

It’s unclear just how many jobs are affected. A Bi-Lo spokeswoman said in February that the company would try to find positions for as many people as possible at other company stores, but she could not be reached Thursday to say how successful that has been.

The stores aren’t scheduled to close until Saturday, but little inventory was left for shoppers at the Dade City store Thursday, said Tim Brown, assistant store manager.

The Dade City and Zephyrhills stores were among a handful of Sweetbays scheduled to close. The rest are to be converted to Winn-Dixie stores, the company reported.

The store closings were announced in late February after Bi-Lo Holdings reached an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission to sell a dozen stores in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina as a condition of its proposed takeover of 154 Sweetbay and other grocery stores owned by Delhaize America.

In addition to the planned Sweetbay closings, Bi-Lo officials announced they would close 10 stores under the Winn-Dixie, Reid’s, Harveys and Bi-Lo banners as part of the overall transaction. They cited the stores’ proximity to other Bi-Lo-controlled locations. Those closings include Winn-Dixie stores in Tarpon Springs, St. Petersburg and Seffner, which are scheduled to shut down in May.

rblair@tampatrib.com

(813) 371-1853

Twitter: @RBlairTBO

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