Southeastern Grocers’ Romay Davis Turns 104

Longtime Winn-Dixie associate inspired annual grant program
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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Southeastern Grocers Ms. Romay's 104th Birthday Main Image
Romay Davis at her 104th birthday party

Southeastern Grocers Inc., parent company of Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, is celebrating the 104th birthday of beloved Winn-Dixie associate and American Congressional Gold Medal recipient Romay Davis, known affectionately as Ms. Romay. 

Born Oct. 29, 1919 in Virginia, Ms. Romay enlisted in the Army in 1943 as a Private First-Class in the U.S. Army 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion. At a time when women and people of color faced discrimination, her battalion was a predominantly Black, all-female unit deployed overseas and cleared backlog in just three months by sorting an average of 195,000 pieces of mail per day. After her discharge from the army, Ms. Romay became a NYU multidegree scholar, worked in real estate and fashion, earned a taekwondo black belt, and rejoined the workforce as a Winn-Dixie associate in 2001.

Ahead of the actual day, the banner held a special in-store birthday celebration on Oct. 26 at Ms. Romay’s local Winn-Dixie store in Montgomery, Ala., attended by her friends, family and local community members.

To honor the life and legacy of Ms. Romay, Southeastern Grocers is inviting people across the country to mark this milestone occasion by sending her a handmade or signed birthday card. Cards can be mailed to Romay Davis, c/o Southeastern Grocers, 8928 Prominence Parkway, Building 200, Jacksonville, FL 32256.

“We are deeply rooted in the communities we serve, and part of our story includes incredible associates like Ms. Romay,” said Raymond Rhee, chief people officer for Southeastern Grocers. “As we celebrate her 104th birthday, we hope to express our deepest gratitude for being a part of her extraordinary story. During her military service, Ms. Romay sorted mail to bolster crucial morale for troops. This year, we are proud to return the favor by sorting her birthday mail from those near and far.”

Ms. Romay’s birthday festivities included a grand entrance, music performed by Parker Crossing High School’s band, remarks from Southeastern Grocers leadership, a meet-and-greet with Alabama nonprofit community partners, and a cake cutting ceremony.

Among her many honors, Ms. Romay is the namesake of SEG’s Romay Davis Belonging, Inclusion and Diversity Grant. The grocer and its charitable arm, the SEG Gives Foundation, recently accepted applications from nonprofits throughout the Southeast for its fourth annual grant program, which funds organizations that work to address racial disparities in education, health care and food insecurity. Recipient nonprofit organizations for 2023 will be revealed following Ms. Romay’s 104th birthday on Oct. 29. 

Jacksonville, Fla.-based Southeastern Grocers currently operates more than 420 grocery stores, approximately 180 liquor stores and more than 230 in-store pharmacies serving communities throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. The company is No. 44 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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