Save-A-Lot intends to add a grocery store in South Jacksonville along University Boulevard West at Beney Road, bringing the company’s Jacksonville presence to 11 locations.
The St. Louis-based discount food chain expects to open the store by late September at 5995 University Blvd. W.
The city is reviewing a permit application for a $250,000 build-out of the space.
Save-A-Lot is designed as 15,645 square feet in space formerly leased for the Fortis Institute, which consolidated at its Orange Park location.
What might appear unusual is the grocer is taking the end space of a shopping center that looks like it is anchored in the middle by a Winn-Dixie supermarket.
Winn-Dixie actually anchors a separate and separately owned shopping center.
So, no, Save-A-Lot and Winn-Dixie are not going to be operating in the same shopping center. It just looks like it.
Winn-Dixie anchors the University Boulevard West center, which is owned by Palm Beach Gardens-based American Commercial Realty.
Save-A-Lot will anchor the Santa Monica Center, which is owned by Jacksonville-based Sleiman Enterprises.
The two are separated by a block wall that is not noticeable to shoppers.
It doesn’t matter to Save-A-Lot.
“Our team is very good at vetting the community, vetting the property and vetting the location,” said company spokeswoman Chon Tomlin.
She said Winn-Dixie is a full-service supermarket while Save-A-Lot is a discount grocer. Save-A-Lot there will be about a third of the size of the Winn-Dixie.
Winn-Dixie’s store at 5909 University Blvd. W. is in a 51,500-square-foot space built in 1962 as a Pic N’ Save store. That Jacksonville-based discount chain closed in 1996.
The Winn-Dixie features a pharmacy, bakery, deli and floral department –– services not found in Save-A-Lot.
Save-A-Lot considers itself a hard discount retailer that offers prices up to 40 percent lower than conventional grocery stores. It features a limited assortment, saying it only carries “the items you shop for most.” Its private-label brands account for about 60 percent of corporate store sales.
A wholly owned subsidiary of SuperValu Inc., Save-A-Lot operates more than 1,300 stores in 38 states, many in the Southeast, according to SuperValu’s most recent annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. SuperValu also filed to spin off Save-A-Lot as a separate company.
Tomlin said the University Boulevard West store will start with 20 to 25 full- and part-time employees.
“Jobs, jobs, jobs,” said Toney Sleiman, president of landlord Sleiman Enterprises, repeating one of his catch-phrases.
Winn-Dixie is owned by Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers.
Spokesman Zack Bingham said the company believes competition is good for consumers.
Southeastern Grocers recently launched a “Down Down” program at its Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie stores to cut prices on more than 400 frequently purchased items on top of an earlier price-lowering program.
Tomlin said due diligence for a Save-A-Lot site “goes on for a while.” She said Save-A-Lot looks for locations to lease in existing communities rather than build new stores.
“It’s not about the competition,” she said, explaining it’s how the store fits within the community from a customer’s perspective.
Plus, she said, the company wouldn’t open in an area that it hadn’t determined would be a good fit.
“That’s what we have been doing for over 30 years,” she said. “We have to make sure.”
The 10 Save-A-Lot locations in Jacksonville opened in older, established communities, including Arlington, Beauclerc, Spring Park, Northwest and West Jacksonville.
“Our teams are really, really good at finding locations and finding that it’s a win-win for both us and the community,” she said.