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Because of Better Incentives
(released 1/17/2005)
By Douglas Lorah

Jacksonville-based grocery chain Winn-Dixie is sharing its role as a movie star with its customers through a shopping rewards program and book donations throughout its operating areas.

The Film
"Because of Winn-Dixie," starring Jeff Daniels, Cicely Tyson, Dave Matthews, Eva Marie Saint, and introducing AnnaSophia Robb, opens in theaters nationwide February 18. Portions of the movie were filmed at a Winn-Dixie store in Louisiana. The story chronicles a girl who befriends several uncommon characters in her new home of Naomi, Fla. -- including a stray dog she meets at the town's Winn-Dixie store. Through her new friends, India Opal Buloni learns the joys of friendship and family.

This production is a sore spot with locals since the writer created the story from her experiences in Central Florida and the area was up for contention as a possible shooting location. The film still took its budget and payrolls to Louisiana due to better incentive programs in that state.

The Rewards Program
Winn-Dixie has partnered with Twentieth Century Fox to offer shoppers the ability to earn points redeemable for officially licensed merchandise, including a free copy of the book that inspired the movie, a plush look-alike toy of the movie's canine star, "Winn-Dixie," and two tickets to see the movie. For more information, visit http://www.winn-dixie.com.

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