Onstead told a crowd of approximately 500 people about the merger of Winn-Dixie and BI-LO supermarkets; the merged company’s plans for future growth; and how he believes the Jacksonville area is well-positioned for future growth.
“We know our strengths as a city and we will accelerate progress around those strengths,” Onstead said. “We have a pro-business environment. If we continue to attract business, everything else will take care of itself.”
Since its merger in 2011, BI-LO and Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. is now the ninth largest traditional supermarket chain in the U.S., with 686 stores and nearly 60,000 employees across the Southeastern U.S. The company is headquartered in Jacksonville.
“Today’s luncheon provided a wonderful opportunity for members of our business community to get to know Randall Onstead and learn about a successful merger and subsequent decision to locate BI-LO’s headquarters to Jacksonville,” said JAXUSA Partnership Chair John Delaney, president of the University of North Florida. “BI-LO is a success story and its presence in Jacksonville – with prospects for future expansion – means a great deal to our community.”
During the luncheon, Delaney said so far this year JAXUSA Partnership announced 12 new projects totaling more than 2,000 new jobs and result in up to $222 million in capital investment in the area. That includes plans by Deutsche Bank, Digital Risk and Railex LLC to add up to 300 new jobs each in Jacksonville over the next few years.
Robert Purser, of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, attended the event to present U.S. Rep Ander Crenshaw with a special award for supporting business growth in our country.
Also, JAXUSA Partnership gave Availity its Industry Leader award for its outstanding business performance and corporate citizenship. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Availity is one of the top health information companies in the country – delivering more than 1.7 billion transactions annually.
Before announcing Onstead, JAX Chamber Chair Greg Smith introduced the Chamber’s newly selected president and CEO Daniel Davis who will officially assume his duties on July 1.
“This is a great time for the JAX Region,” said Jerry Mallot interim president of CEO of the JAX Chamber and president of JAXUSA Partnership. “With new companies coming to our area and strong organizations – such as BI-LO and Winn-Dixie – continuing to grow, even more prosperous times are ahead.”