The chief executive officer for Ramey’s Inc. confirmed this week that the company has reached an agreement with Southeastern Grocers to purchase the assets of Atmore’s Winn Dixie store.
The transaction will bring to an end Winn Dixie’s lengthy presence in Atmore, which — according to the store’s website — opened here more than 60 years ago as Kwik Chek. That store name, one of three under which the same company operated, evolved into Winn Dixie in the late 1980s or early 1990s, according to several local sources.
Ramey’s will close its Lindbergh Avenue location, which was reportedly opened in 2014, and move into the 600 East Church Street building currently occupied by WD, most probably within the next several weeks.
“Ramey’s has entered into an agreement to purchase the fixtures and non-perishable inventory of the Winn Dixie located on Church Street in Atmore,” company CEO Herbert E. Ramey Jr. said in an emailed response to questions about the deal. “While a specific date has not been set, it is expected the sale will be finalized on or about the end of April. Following the transaction, we will be relocating operations from our current location into the Winn Dixie building.”
He did not comment on unconfirmed reports that the company’s Lindbergh Avenue building will be converted into a warehouse or distribution center.
Ramey’s, a privately held corporation headquartered in Purvis, Miss., owns and operates 22 groceries in Alabama and Mississippi. The family-owned company’s other Alabama stores are in Butler, Chatom, Jackson, Livingston and Luverne.
The sale is part of a plan by Jacksonville, Fla.-based Southeastern Grocers — one of the nation’s largest conventional supermarket companies — to increase its liquidity after having recently filed for protection under Chapter 11 of U.S. bankruptcy laws while it reorganizes.
The grocery giant owns Winn Dixie stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. It also owns Bi-Lo stores in three states, Harvey’s Supermarkets in four states and Fresco y Mas stores in southern Florida.
As part of its restructuring, Southeastern Grocers announced in early March the closing of 94 “underperforming” stores, including 10 Winn Dixie locations in Alabama, including stores in Monroeville, Mobile, Daphne, Gulf Shores, and Robertsdale.
Herbert Ramey Jr. said company officials expect that Atmore’s new Ramey’s Marketplace will employ “approximately 50 full and part time employees” once the financial deal is completed and the relocation has been carried out.
He added that the move would allow the company to better serve its local and area customers.
“(This) will provide Ramey’s a great opportunity to offer the residents of Atmore and surrounding areas an enjoyable and rewarding grocery shopping experience,” he said.