After a long wait, Marathon residents were eager to see the completely new Winn-Dixie that opened on March 27.
“We already had plans to expand the store, but then Hurricane Irma hit,” said Eddie Garcia, senior vice president of operations at Winn-Dixie. “It destroyed the product, of course, and all the equipment. We literally scrubbed the blueprints and started from scratch.”
The store’s new footprint encompasses the former CVS storefront — increasing the area from 28,000 square feet to 38,000 square feet. The ceilings have been raised, the lighting is LED, the shelves are completely stocked and the store is fully staffed.The design team preserved the underwater mural inside the store. And Winn-Dixie also donated $1,000 to the Marathon High School.
“I have to give credit to our store manager Robert Garcia,” said Garcia, no relation. He was named store manager two weeks before the hurricane. He kept 30 of the store’s associates employed by finding work for them at neighboring Keys stores — Tavernier, Big Pine, Key West and Key Largo. All but the Key Largo store have also received cosmetic updates.
Marathon’s Winn-Dixie has many new amenities — a beer cave, fresh sushi, a pizza station (by the slice or whole pie), a café featuring breakfast pastries, coffee, hot and cold sandwiches. The store also has increased its offering of Hispanic foods and products, a regional decision.
The first Winn-Dixie in Marathon opened in 1982 in its previous location, where Beall’s Outlet is now. The grand opening was attended by about 30 executives from Winn-Dixie’s corporate headquarters in Jacksonville.