As Sweetbay supermarkets across Florida prepare to close in February, Gainesville’s store remains in business.
The Tampa-based supermarket chain announced Wednesday it will be closing 33 underperforming stores across the state, as well as the pharmacy at its Bonita Springs location, in mid-February.
“Those stores just weren’t meeting sales expectations,” said Sweetbay spokeswoman Nicole LeBeau.
All of the company’s 105 stores operate in Florida. The remaining 72 stores will stay open after the statewide closing, which will lay off about 2,000 workers, according to a company press release.
LeBeau said the closures will help the company’s portfolio and accelerate shareholder value.
As a publicly held company, Sweetbay doesn’t release sales figures, she said.
Although the company encourages employees to apply for open positions at remaining stores, LeBeau said it would pay severance for unemployed workers.
She could not provide further details about the pay due to the “sensitivity of the issue.”
Employees at the Gainesville store, 2002 SW 34th St., made the cut. The store’s 24/7 schedule often comes in handy for students living nearby.
Arnold Sullivan, a 19-year-old UF electrical engineering sophomore, lives close to Publix, but when he needs to go grocery shopping in the middle of the night, he goes to Sweetbay.
“It seems pretty popular whenever I go there, even at 2 a.m.,” Sullivan said. “If they were both equidistant, I might go to Sweetbay more.”