Pic ‘N Save’s downfall began in the late 1980s with the arrival of larger chains like K-mart and Walmart, who also “stacked them higher while selling them cheaper.” However, poor internal decisions and disputes ultimately sent the Springfield business into bankruptcy. This included being hesitant to invest in new technology and information systems to track business, something that the competitors excelled at and descendants of Setzer disputing over operations. In February 1995, the company filed for bankrupcty citing a loss of $38 million in the previous 13 months. In May 1996, just three months after a judge approved a bankruptcy reorganization plan, the company announced its decision to close its remaining 27 stores and laying off its remaining 1,800 employees (1,100 in Jacksonville). The loss of Setzer’s Pic N’ Save was a major blow for Jacksonville and the Springfield Warehouse District.
Now, 21 years after the closure of one of the city’s largest employers and one of the south’s first major grocery chains, the Springfield building that served as the base of operations is quietly coming down.
Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Davis is a certified senior planner and graduate of Florida A&M University. He is the author of the award winning books “Reclaiming Jacksonville,” “Cohen Brothers: The Big Store” and “Images of Modern America: Jacksonville.” Davis has served with various organizations committed to improving urban communities, including the American Planning Association and the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. A 2013 Next City Vanguard, Davis is the co-founder of Metro Jacksonville.com and ModernCities.com — two websites dedicated to promoting fiscally sustainable communities — and Transform Jax, a tactical urbanist group. Contact Ennis at email@example.com