Because of Winn-Dixie

Published online: Feb 18, 2021 Articles, Lifestyle Emily FitzPatrick
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Finding a business you can trust affects everything, even though it might not be a choice you actively think about. Your loyalty to different businesses impacts not only what you consume, but also the people with whom you choose to interact. Your support of certain businesses even impacts the memories your children will have for the rest of their lives.

Growing up in Florida, we shopped at Winn-Dixie because that’s where my dad worked as a store manager. Some of my first memories are of my mother guiding me and my sister down the aisle, us actively watching for my dad to appear so that we could sneak in a few moments with him. Sometimes he would say a quick hello before running to help a customer or help unload a truck. Other times he would walk us to the bakery where the staff would sneak us free cookies. They give them to all of the kids, but the idea of them sneaking them out just for us made us feel pretty good about ourselves.

For me, Winn-Dixie wasn’t just a store or the main setting of Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. It was a spot I grew up in. It was where I showed off that first tooth I lost. It was where I drew pictures after school one day in the office, watching the office manager unload some money from the safe for the registers. And it was the only place we were allowed to shop for groceries. Names like Walmart and Publix were forbidden in our household.

Winn-Dixie was also where I got my first job, scanning groceries after school from high school all the way through college. The professional relationships built there impact the way I do business today, which is why you will frequently hear me slip into a southern, “Yes, ma’am” or “No, sir” over the phone even though it has been several years since I made a permanent move to Idaho.

My dad now works at the corporate offices for the company that owns Winn-Dixie. Although I’m sad I can’t visit his former store in Florida for my shot at a free cookie, my loyalty to the company that raised me remains strong. A trip to Florida isn’t complete without hunting down the aisles for a snack on the plane ride back to Idaho Falls. 

In this issue, you will find stories of business owners and operators like my dad, who are growing memories with their families and sharing their talents with the community. Our loyalty allows these businesses to continue growing, even during turbulent times. Whether you’re a business owner yourself or a community member interested in what is new to town, we hope you will find a story that resonates with you.  

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