Dominick's leaving Oak Park, River Forest

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

Oak Park and River Forest will be without their Dominick's come early 2014, according to an announcement Thursday from Safeway Inc, which operates 72 stores in the Chicago area.

A handful of the stores have already been sold to New Albertsons, Inc., which operates Jewel-Osco grocery stores. It's unknown at this point what company may take over the Oak Park spot, but Loretta Daly, the village's business manager, said she has been aware for a few months that Dominick's could be closing.

"This was pretty well known in the [grocery industry] market," Daly said. While she isn't at liberty to disclose what operators the village has been in touch with, Daly said there have been conversations with groups that have shown interest in bringing another grocery store to the Lake Street location.

The Oak Park store has been in business since the late 1980s and replaced a large and obsolete bus barn operated by West Towns Bus Company.

"There is significant recognition in the food market industry that that location is highly desirable. It's not an opportunity that comes along often," Daly said. "Our hopes and desire it that it remains a food establishment."

Daly assured the village will "work aggressively" with anyone looking to take over the location.

The River Forest Dominick's is among the chain's oldest and smallest locations. Situated on North Avenue it has been the subject of rumored closings for many years though the Journal reported in January 2012 that a five-year lease extension had just been signed.

In various planning processes over the years, the village of River Forest has considered the site as a likely redevelopment location.

In its announcement Thursday, Safeway Inc. revealed that the decision to exit the Chicago market came at the end of the third quarter. Dominick's incurred losses before income taxes of $13.7 million in the third quarter of 2013 and $35.2 million in the first 36 weeks of 2013.

It was cited in multiple media reports that the decisions to leave the Chicago market is "consistent with Safeway's priority of maximizing shareholder value," according to Robert Edwards, President and CEO of the company.

Check back with as this story develops.

Let us know on Facebook what grocery story you would like to see replace Dominick's.

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Posted: April 5th, 2014 3:03 AM

Why isn't Safeway going for other strategies like Market Development? The US has been facing difficulties in Economic recovery as unemployment rate is still around 7% and GDP growth is still modest. The Number of jobs added in the month of February was 175000 which is less than expected.

Ilhan from Oak Park  

Posted: October 23rd, 2013 9:54 PM

WalMart in Oak Park??? No thanks! This anti-union, anti-small business, expecting tax breaks and other corporate welfare business, only to move when they have to start paying. Walmart is a negative influence on shopping, labor and business and should never be allowed to open within the borders of Oak Park!!!!

Interested Resident from Oak Park  

Posted: October 18th, 2013 8:58 AM

I wish Oak Park could convince Walmarts build a small Walmarts similar to the one on Broadway in Lakeview or maybe the one downtown - but the OP location could be bigger. Walmarts even has fresh produce - and meat/tomatores is packaged in standard sizes/identical prices - very smart, cost effective. They pass savings on to customers

Kinky from Oak Park  

Posted: October 16th, 2013 9:44 PM

I heard a rumor that Lover's Lane is looking at the Lake Street storefront.

Patricia O'Shea from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 16th, 2013 5:11 PM

There's no need to do a city-style Mariano's in OP (required for a downtown location). Plus the congestion, etc. If I were their planners I'd snap up one of the sites vacated by Dominics.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 16th, 2013 4:53 PM

P.O.S. I don't see Mariano's coming to OP any time soon, but if it did it would be downtown not at the corner of Oak Park Av and Madison.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: October 16th, 2013 4:36 PM

"We've got plenty of grocery stores in OP..." {{scratches head}} Really? With the fourth mattress store opening up, won't we have more places to purchase an item needed every 10 years, than we will have places to purchase items we use/consume multiple times a day?

Patricia O'Shea from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 16th, 2013 4:22 PM

Tilted Kilt is Klassy with a capital K. Ugh. No thanks. Same for Hooters.

Patricia O'Shea from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 16th, 2013 4:21 PM

If Mariano's comes to Oak Park I'll stop donating my grocery taxes to Elmhurst (Mariano's) and Hillside (Target). Love that store.

Patricia O'Shea from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 16th, 2013 4:20 PM

@JM, I don't know about Mariano's and location. The Elmhurst location is bustling, but not near anything fancy.

Fred Munoz from River Forest  

Posted: October 16th, 2013 3:44 PM

Mariano's is an awesome grocery store and I don't even like grocery shopping! Every time I'm near the Elmhurst store, I make sure to stop in and check out their deli and specialty items. The food court is amazing and much less mula than Whole Foods!

KrisG from Oak Park  

Posted: October 16th, 2013 3:30 PM

One that will hire the current employees. There are a lot of good hard-working people there whom I've come to respect over the years. They need these jobs and I'd like to continue to see their smiling faces.

Junior City Planner from Oak Park  

Posted: October 15th, 2013 2:11 PM

This would be a great shop for a store similar to Aldi's, only even cheaper. Also, it should sell really cheap alcohol and strawberry flavored blunt wraps.

Lisa J. from Oak Park  

Posted: October 15th, 2013 1:45 PM

There may be many grocery stores around, but nothing close to those of us who live east of Ridgeland, north of Madison St. Really hope a high caliber grocer replaces Dominick's. Dominicks is always busy at this location--there's definitely a demand.

The Brad from OP  

Posted: October 15th, 2013 1:10 PM

"Class it up" with a Hooters? LOL. Really?

Wildbill@hickock from Oak Park  

Posted: October 15th, 2013 1:05 PM

How about some type of firing range, gun shop superstore! That is what we need!

think outside the box from Oak Park  

Posted: October 15th, 2013 12:23 PM

We've got plenty of grocery stores in Oak Park, a change would be nice at this location. Is it too much to ask for a Hooters, or a Tilted Kilt? It would really bring in a lot of sales tax revenue, and help "class up" that part of Oak Park.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: October 14th, 2013 4:05 PM

I think a Dollar store would fit right in at the Lake street Dominicks location given what seems to be the village's economic development strategy with pawn shops, mattress stores, and beauty shops. The Grove residents need somewhere to shop too.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: October 13th, 2013 12:29 PM

@BillDwyer: Here is some additional info. At the Second Community Session for the Lake St. Neighborhood Plan held on Sept. 19, 2006, market and business district analyst, Bridgett Lane of Business Districts Inc., stated that Aldi's and Dominicks grocery stores generated $500,000 in annual sales tax revenue. As per Experian/Applied Geographic Solutions (2005), Dominick's and Aldi's had consumer expenditures of $16,677.794 (2005). The Lake St. Neighborhood Plan is available on the village website.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: October 13th, 2013 11:44 AM

Of equal importance to sales tax revenue, is the social fabric, food accesibility, and walkability provided by neighborhood grocery stores. Relative to the 5 other OP grocery stores, the Dominick's location provides the closest distance to the entire northeast quarter of OP, bounded by Lake St, East Ave, North Ave, Austin Blvd. According to Experian/Applied Geographic Solutions (2005), there are 4,026 households with a population of 8,789 located within a %uFFFD mile radius of the Dominick's site.


Posted: October 13th, 2013 11:08 AM

There is no reason a store needs to become sub-par because lower-income people shop there. Money is money. If a new grocery store moves in, I hope the operator would maintain high standards.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: October 13th, 2013 11:02 AM

@BillDwyer: auto sales generate huge sales tax revenue, which is why Forest Park gave Currie Motors a $1.25M tax break in 2009. "Auto dealerships are typically one of the more coveted businesses among municipalities because they tend to generate buckets of tax revenue. In 2008, Forest Park received nearly $400,000 in sales tax money between Currie Group's two dealerships, according to the finance department." (Forest Park Review, 7.29.09).

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: October 13th, 2013 10:49 AM

@BillDwyer: In 2006, the planner for the Lake St. Neighborhood Plan (2007) stated the Lake St. Business District (Austin?"Ridgeland) generated as much sales tax as Downtown OP, due primarily to grocery stores, Dominick's and Aldis. The IL Dept of Revenue reported sales tax revenue for Food (groceries) in OP (2012) was $1.1M, or 18% of total OP sales tax. Food was ranked 3rd highest sales tax category, behind Drinking / Eating Places, and Drugs / Misc. Retail (note that Dominick's has a pharmacy).

Speedway from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 13th, 2013 10:11 AM

Brendan you seem to have an outlook that it is ours and we are not sharing. What do you expect people in Austin to do, starve. There are no grocery stores in their area so of course they are going to go the closest store they can manage even if here in OP. Would you not do the same.


Posted: October 13th, 2013 7:42 AM

The replacement will be something that serves the Austin neighborhood and not Oak Park. It will continue to attract crime and lower the standards for the neighborhood. This is something Oak Parker's need to make sure doesn't happen.

Ilhan from Oak Park  

Posted: October 13th, 2013 7:36 AM

Many good comments....not familiar with Mariano's but sounds better than what Dominick's had become. Would also support a progressive food co-op (there are a few in Chicago) and agree with Garry that locating at Madison and Oak Park could help jump start the renewal of Madison street! Citizen involvement is get those calls/emails to Loretta Daley at village hall!

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: October 13th, 2013 2:12 AM

Ooooo...I just looked at Mariano's website. They even have their own private organics label. Our household could totally support this store (and Oak Park with the sales tax revenues, which we are now spending in another municipality).

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: October 13th, 2013 2:03 AM

@Bill, this is an old story, but the relative numbers are probably the same... restaurant and beverage, and then grocery stores...

Gary Mancuso  

Posted: October 13th, 2013 1:19 AM

John Butch, you make great points. I guess we agree on the parcel being able to support the physical bricks and mortars. As far as the location, I say it is perfect. Go visit the Mariano's Elmhurst location. It is practically in the middle of a industrial area. Please understand Mariano's is a destination driven business. In other words folks will be drawn to them. Being on Madison St. in Oak Park will attract many Forest Park residents residents and will ignite a Madison St come back.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 12th, 2013 11:31 PM

Mancuso - You have a point space-wise, but Mariano's is not dumb. There game is location, location, location. Part of location is the business that would be their neighbors. The Oak Park Av and Madison St location neighboring businesses, repair shops, public housing, wig shops, village owned tattered buildings not a good fit. Downtown is where they would want to be. Mariano's business is a rocket -- it gets to choose location not the government.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: October 12th, 2013 9:44 PM

Enuf is Enuf, you say "Dominick's on Lake St. generated more local sales tax revenue than most of downtown Oak Park." What figures do you have to support that statement? Please share. And I have to ask, when you write that Oak Park "needs to be involved to ensure grocery stores remain in Oak Park, lest they go the way of car dealers dealers," are you really equating businesses that most people purchase from at most every four to six years, to businesses they purchase from twice or more a week?

Gary Mancuso  

Posted: October 12th, 2013 3:04 PM

I commented earlier on and still believe the best location for Mariano's would be in Oak Park at the north east parcels at Madison and Oak Park Avenue. Take everything east through the old car dealership. It would require Oak Park to vacate that part of Euclid Avenue. It would also require if I am correct to assemble 3 parcels including the car dealership and the two west of it.

Judy Steed from River Forest  

Posted: October 12th, 2013 2:11 PM

The River Forest Jewel is a perfect example of "too little, too late." Mariano's is the up and coming superstar with a new store in Elmhurst and a new one coming to Wheaton. I contacted the CEO about the HInes Lumber parcel in RF which he had already checked out and said it was too small. The RF Dominicks location is also too small. I"m hoping for Mariano's to come to the OP location.

Lack of imagination  

Posted: October 12th, 2013 1:20 PM

My bet is that it will be Aldi food store. Oak Park Economic Development people have no imagination and no drive to bring shopping options that Oak Park residents want.


Posted: October 12th, 2013 1:17 PM

I want a Treasure Island, the first gourmet grocery around Chicago.

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: October 12th, 2013 12:08 PM

Personally, I'd love to see Food Lion enter this market, but not sure if they plan to move west of Indiana. Great stores, but got hosed by union thuggery a few years back The bottom line is that we citizens don't get to "pick" who takes over. The market will do that. The VOP's role in this is to remove any & all barriers of entry to those grocers who want to bid on this location.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 12th, 2013 11:50 AM

Enuf - Great Point!

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: October 12th, 2013 11:38 AM

Little known fact is that grocery stores, like car dealers, generate the most local sales tax revenue. Dominick's on Lake St. generated more local sales tax revenue than most of downtown Oak Park. Village needs to be involved to ensure grocery stores remain in Oak Park, lest they go the way of car dealers.

Tired of Taxes from Oak Park  

Posted: October 12th, 2013 10:54 AM

I would echo the sentiment that the Lake Street Dominicks be replaced with a Trader Joes. Of course, TJ probably wouldn't dream of opening up east of Ridgeland (few companies do), but you never know. A new Portillos would be great there, as well.

Jeff Schroeder from Oak Park  

Posted: October 12th, 2013 10:50 AM

I loved the comment in the Tribune regarding Dominicks: "This is what grocery stores looked like back in the nineties". Grocery shopping has become more specialized. We go to a combination of Costco, Target Whole Foods and Trader Joes (and get milk delivered). I think this is more the norm today.


Posted: October 12th, 2013 9:45 AM

The Dominicks on Lake Street is disgusting. NEVER go in there - the smell + selection are horrible. I hate to think of all the cooties behind those shelves and coolers!! Portillos?! - Are you people goofy? Have you ever driven by the one at Roosevelt DesPlaines? You think there are traffic jams on North Ave. now? The footprint of the Lake location is too small for many grocers like Mariano's, Pete's Caputo. A Trader Joe's would be perfect

Johanna Brocker from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: October 12th, 2013 2:37 AM

The people who work in the RF Dom are great but the store is terrible. The freezers don't is frozen and refrozen.meat looks like someone used an axe..the deli is unedible and the prices are high. The Jewel which GReat Valu just sold is eliminating natural and organic products. Charging the same as WFoods for cut.produce and marketing cosmetics Like dog food..and who wants to check themsevles out while the clerks I am sure..let's have a great store like Public's in Florida. TREASUR E ISLAND OR BUTERA..THE GROCERY STORE IN Highland PArk is great too..where is the value..fresh food that is not gmo...where is the take out that is edible. Remember Wild Oats..Remember DOminick's when it was owned by the family great deli ,meat and produce they carried out your groceries. Good wine selection and then they sold. Bought it back Sold again and again..aging stores and equipment. Eliminated butchers..highturnover..let's get a food coop in here

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 11:52 PM

Tony's is excellent.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 11:36 PM

It takes a Village to invest into a proper grocery store that can offer more than food and beverages. We want and expect a transcendent experience from a grocery store and for a store to keep that transcendent experience, they need to offer movies, concerts, clothing, fashion shows, Broadway shows, an indoor theme park, and a hotel. The day's of expecting a grocery store to sell food at a good price with friendly employees is no longer expected. We want a transcendent experience from a grocer.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 11:27 PM

Gizmodog, you are not the only one who doesn't read things correctly using a computer. Bill Dywer is talking about the River Forest Jewel Food Store, and you just assumed that he meant the Dominick's.

RLM from Oak Park  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 11:20 PM

The OP and RF Dominick's were simply terrible. Smelly, low stock on staple items, poor selection. I actually had to complain once because they were out of kids cold JULY! Every brand! I've never seen that! 3 types of juice, Jewel has about 20. THAT is what killed Dominick's; not the competition. It was suicide. Mariano's, PLEASE.

OP #623 from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 10:11 PM

Oh well. I had better experiences with Dominick's when I lived elsewhere in Chicagoland. The two local stores had to be two of the worst in the chain. The smell of a seafood counter should not create a 50 foot radius of nausea and I've seen rotten meat in their cases. Jewel is grocery purgatory (or hell at the terrible store on Madison), but I would go there over Dominick's. Could we be so lucky as to get an upgrade out of the death of a Chicago grocery icon?

Wendy Greenhouse from Oak Park  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 9:38 PM

That store deserves to die: dirty, poorly managed, and stocked with junk. There are always lines, no matter how few shoppers in the store. I live 2 blocks away but avoided going there if possible--EXCEPT the pharmacy, which was great and very convenient. The pharm staff are terrific and I worry about them finding other jobs.


Posted: October 11th, 2013 9:28 PM

@Gary- The NE corner of OP/Madison is smaller than the current Dominick's parcel on Lake. And there's already a Portillo's west down North Ave in Northlake.

MattCordtwist from IslandDweller  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 7:50 PM

Anybody considering Tony's Finer Foods? Food for Thought.


Posted: October 11th, 2013 7:21 PM

This is a classical example or poor strategy - Whole Foods took high end, Walmart took low end and they got caught in valley of death (middle). Failed to eveolve or pick effective strategy. The other issue is union busting. Now let's bring it home - OP needs a strategy for econ development. Understand, evolve or we will go the same way.


Posted: October 11th, 2013 6:58 PM

I'd like a Mariano's or a Fresh Market like the one in Villa Park. Anything as long as it's not another hair weave/beauty supply store. 3 million of them on Madison is enough.

Violet Aura  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 6:40 PM

Bring Caputo's ober by dare!!! It is beyond my extensive brain's ability to comprehend why OPRF have NO produce markets within miles! Totally bullshite! You know, even vegetarian restaurants are lacking. This area is not as sophisticated as it likes to think...


Posted: October 11th, 2013 5:15 PM

Apparently the problem lies with Safeway, so blame the company. Regarding the River Forest Jewel, sorry Bill Dwyer the changes are terrible. One example the flour and sugar are in different aisles, what is up with that? If you want to see an example of what investors can do to a company, just look at Hostess. Also, look no further than Bain Capital. Please pave the way for Mariano's!

Phil A former oak parker from Carol Stream  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 5:07 PM

We used to shop both those stores the 20yrs we spent in town. A Wisconsin chain is opening soon in Carol Stream Piggly Wiggly is the name.we hear they are just getting started infiltrating the Chicago area. I like Mariano's very much as well

Marilyn Alva from Oak park  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 5:06 PM

I like the idea of having "Caputos", but have you all being at "Miiers"? It's located in Harlem ave and Cermac ave. I think it is a great food store, lots of space, variety and fresh produce ....

Charlie Meyerson from Oak Park  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 4:54 PM

Bob Mariano handled with class the Oak Park neighbors insurrection in the '90s, when the perception was that that Dominick's store was in decline. He fixed the place right up. You can write directly to him here and suggest they take over that location: Select "Chairman Bob" from the Main Topic pulldown menu.

sarah b. from Oak Park  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 4:33 PM

I'm worried about what the lack of competition will do to Jewel's prices. Ugh! While I like Portillo's, putting it directly across the street from Johnnie's would be a crime! Can we please get someone in town with some decent produce that won't break my bank?? I know, I know. Caputo's is great, but their selection outside of produce and deli just doesn't do it for me

Katie Licup from Oak Park  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 4:32 PM

Live very close to Lake Street site and would love to see Mariano's here (or anywhere else in OP as Gary proposed). A Tony's/Caputo's varietal would be great too! Or make this a year-round artisanal food shop/farmers market/food truck site?

Fred from Oak Park  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 4:31 PM

I would love a Caputto's or Mariano's to come. Those are great places to shop. I like Whole Foods I but cannot afford it...

Dan Lauber from River Forest  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 4:20 PM

Now if only Central Market were to enter the Chicago market and take over some of these Dominicks sites. The ones in Oak Park and River Forest are too small for this chain's unique stores. I've been to their original store in Austin, TX and it was amazing. Gelato that rivals the best in Italy. Very broad choice of food throughout the winding store. Outdoor concerts on weekend evenings. Positively transcendent.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 4:09 PM

The parent company of Jewel just sold out, and the changes going on at the River Forest Jewel where I shop are very positive.

Hank Marquardt from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 3:52 PM

Must not forget Caputo's too, I enjoy their store at Harlem and Grand on occasion. Another option!

Hank Marquardt from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 3:50 PM

Wegmans is an East coast chain, unless they were looking at expansion further west, I doubt that. I must say a transcendent shopping experience sounds like a $4 gallon of milk to me ... I can always go to Whole Foods for that. Mariano's would be an interesting fit, though I'd guess they'd look at one, not both. Time will tell ... hopefully with a positive outcome!

m on ridgeland from Oak Park  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 3:43 PM

Maraino's would be a nice addition to the Oak Park site. Getting tired of Jewel and they are also having issues with all the competition around.

Gary Mancuso  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 3:43 PM

Here is my vision: Dominick's on Lake St becomes another use other than a supermarket. Mariano's opens a store on the corner of Oak Park Avenue and Madison St which would spur the beginning of a massive re-development of the Madison St corridor. The footprint of the Lake St. Dominick is much too small for a Mariano's. The Dominick's on North Ave. would be demolished because the building is obsolete and in it's place would be built a Portillo's which would generate a great tax stream.


Posted: October 11th, 2013 3:10 PM

Since the village chased Certifiedland out of town to address the shortage of vacant lots downtown, the Dominick's is the only supermarket I can walk to. Hope it is replaced with a grocery. The River Forest store is a plucky old fellow, but it has been running on fumes.

Rob from Oak Park  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 3:07 PM

Don't you think the store addresses should appear SOMEWHERE in the story?

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 2:19 PM

#@%*!!.... Now I can't quit thinking about having a "transcendent grocery experience." :) ...Sounds better than the usual purgatory I have to endure while shopping.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 2:11 PM

I could spend hours at Wegman's. That place is like four different stores in one. I was working near Baltimore last year when I was introduced to its awesomeness.

Dan Haley from Wednesday Journal Wednesday Journal Employee

Posted: October 11th, 2013 1:47 PM

I have a friend in Rochester, N.Y. and he speaks in positively reverential tones about Wegman's. He took us there when we were visiting, like I might take him to the Home and Studio when he was in Oak Park. Have to say it was a transcendent grocery experience.


Posted: October 11th, 2013 12:55 PM

Mariano's (run by a former Dominick's exec before the sale to Safeway) is probably eyeing one of these two sites.

Jakob Eriksson  

Posted: October 11th, 2013 12:34 PM

Dominick's won't be missed. But a new, updated grocery store in that location would be fantastic. Dare I dream of a Wegman's?

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