The Wings Beach and Sportswear chain is nearing a deal to purchase competitor Alvin's Island, which has outlets in the Florida Panhandle and Alabama.
Alvin's president Gary Walsingham says he expects the deal to be finalized next month. Miami-based Maco Destin Incorporated, which owns Wings, says only a few legal details need to be resolved.
Alvin's is based in Panama City Beach and has been in operation for 50 years. It's billed as a tropical department store selling beachwear, souvenirs, gifts and other items. The company employs about 400 people at 13 stores in peak summer months.
Maco Destin is headed by Elizer "Eli" Tabib, who took over Wings in Florida and on the Gulf Coast when a partnership was amended in 1998. Maco Destin has 23 stores, including ten in the Panhandle.
Company officials say there are no plans to close any Alvin's stores or lay off employees. They say some Wings are in direct competition with Alvin's, but will be marketed differently.