Food & Drink

Winn-Dixie opens store with Latin flavor, and one big thing is different

Fresco y Mas opened this week in Hialeah.
Fresco y Mas opened this week in Hialeah.

The old Winn-Dixie in the heart of Hialeah has a new recipe with Hispanic flavor.

The store has a new look. Different merchandise.

And a new name.

The grand opening Wednesday of Fresco y Mas supermarket — Fresh and More — at 541 W. 49th St., showed off the new focus. The store remains under Winn-Dixie’s parent company, Southeastern Grocers.

Fresco y Mas is offering reduced prices during its first days open and will continue to offer lower prices on some products for at least another six months. Among the store’s new features: a Latin bakery and butcher shop, bilingual signs, a Cuban coffee stand and a broader selection of Hispanic products.

“Nearly 90 percent of our employees and clients have Spanish as their first language, especially in Hialeah,” said Ian McLeod, chief executive officer of Southeastern Grocers.

McLeod, who is Scottish and has headed the Jacksonville company for just over a year, recalled making his first trip to Miami to speak with store managers and clients and learn how to best serve the community.

“We took into account everything this community prefers, for example the lavender-scented detergent that everyone buys, the tastes of the bakery and the cuts of beef that people ask for,” he said.

He added that the company spent a significant amount of money on the makeover, including new equipment, lights and paint, but gave no figures.

Southeastern Grocers has more than 50 Winn-Dixie supermarkets in Miami-Dade County and opened its first area store in Hialeah in 1959.

Fresco y Mas is the first of its kind for Southeastern Grocers, and McLeod described it as a test concept.

“People will decide whether we open more branches of Fresco y Mas,” he said.

Fresco y Mas joins Sabor, the Latin-flavored brand of Publix, and the Sedano’s chain in South Florida’s Hispanic grocery market.

Follow Larisa Casillas on Twitter @Lari_Casillas