Winn-Dixie Crumbles

This article, written by Ellis Mnyandu, comes from the Bonds News section of the "establishment" news website Reuters.

The Winn-Dixie grocery chain, a fixture of the American South since it began in 1925, has filed for bankruptcy. The 920-store chain, with locations in eight states and the Bahamas, cited fierce competition by both Wal-Mart and Publix Super Markets as a major reason for their economic woes. According to the Reuters article, they also hurt themselves by poor customer relations and poor physical upkeep of many stores.

On Tuesday, February 22nd, the New York Stock Exchange stopped all trading of Winn-Dixie shares after the price per share - in pre-market trading - fell to 73 cents.

The company hopes to trim it's financial fat, cut losses, and - if they accept advice from analysts - avoid major competition with Wal-Mart. They also plan to sell the assets of 150 closed stores.

Distributists, historically, have always been against chain stores, supporting independent stores and co-ops. Even though many often have to shop at the chains, it is done so with reluctance. However, this is a golden opportunity for us and our sympathizers to convince Winn-Dixie to sell the closed stores to the layed-off employees. Each shut down store could re-open as worker-owned, worker-managed stores, meeting the needs of the local community. They could offer goods and services tailor-made to each location, avoiding a head-to-head battle with the Wal-Mart or Publix behemoths.

This way, employment returns to each community, market competition and consumer choice is preserved, and neighborhood pride and involvement is strengthened.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) has been involved since 1974 in promoting similar plans for sound economic development strategies. Some of the things they promote don't support the Distributist cause, but local community development is one of them. If any of our DR readers would contact the ILSR of this opportunity, we can get the ball rolling to bring the closed Winn-Dixie stores a new lease on life.


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