Winn-Dixie closure worsens Calhoun Co. food shortage, locals say

The Saks Winn Dixie closure is part of 94 stores that will be closed by it's parent company, Southeastern Grocers.

An imminent Winn-Dixie closure will join the list of exiting Calhoun County grocery stores, leaving Saks residents with even fewer food options.

The Saks Winn-Dixie on Highway 431 is part of 94 closings to the chain by its parent company Southeastern Grocers.

Recently, a spokesperson for Southeastern Grocers says the parent company filed for court supervised Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

People in Saks tell ABC 33/40 they will soon have to drive 10-15 minutes away to shop for groceries in Alexandria or in parts of Anniston. Stacey Burgess isn't thrilled about the news because he travels to Saks for work.

Burgess says, "It will be an inconvenience. No doubt it will be an inconvenience ."

His roadside business is less than half a mile away from the Winn-Dixie. The closing brings up a greater question for certain communities around Calhoun County who are already experiencing some food shortages.

Burgess says he has been going to the Saks grocery store at least two or three times a week.

Now, he says people will have to shop outside their comfort zones. "These people are right in between all of the choices, so these folks are just going to have to drive to get what they need," Burgess says.

While Southeastern Grocers isn't sure how many people will lose their jobs, they say they plan to transition many employees into other roles within the company. Those that cannot be transitioned will be offered a severance package, a spokesperson says.

ABC 33/40's Patrick Thomas spoke with JD Hess, the Calhoun County District 4 Commissioner, by phone about the closure in his area.

In a statement he says, "It's a major concern for the Saks Winn-Dixie closing. Such a great location. We will rebound. Another store will take its’ place.”

In West Anniston, you don't see customers pushing carts through at least two parking lots: a Winn-Dixie and a Food Outlet that is now closed.

20-year-old Natiyah Toson has lived in the area all her life and says this is not good.

"It's kind of looking like a ghost town. Like it's going to turn into one. It's just making it hard," Toson explains.

Commissioner Hess says while it will be one less food option, he believes a business or new store will fill the void that Winn-Dixie is leaving behind.

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