Crain's: Mariano's eyes Sears location near Oak Park

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Crain's Chicago Business newspaper reports this week that Mariano's Fresh Market grocery store could be setting its sights on opening a new location at the Sears store at the corner of Harlem and North Avenues.

The business magazine says "real estate sources" say the grocery store chain, owned by Milwaukee-based Roundy's Inc., is "pursuing part or all of the Sears store site."

"The grocer is in early talks with Sears, and it's not clear whether Sears would be willing to downsize its store to make room for Roundy's on an expansive parcel that exceeds one city block," Crain's reporter H. Lee Murphy reports. "Roundy's would not confirm its interest in the site …"

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Comment Policy from Oak Park  

Posted: February 28th, 2014 1:20 PM

And let's just think about what being a sales leader in the top 50 stores, in a chain that is still struggling with major profit loss - major year to date reduction in same store sales and all this: Sometimes a large chain has to look at real estate assets to help stop the profit bleed someplace else for investors. Harlem and N. may be profitable, but the real estate sale may be worth more to Sears from Oak Park  

Posted: February 28th, 2014 1:11 PM

I'm sorry to say that Sears' strategic "unwind" is very obvious. They are quietly closing stores every few months. The spin offs of major names Land's End and Sears Appliance Outlets as well as the expansion of Craftsman brand sales to other retailers, show a marked move to continue to reduce Sears as a retail BOX. Any Sears employee should begin to think of their positions as temporary.

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: February 28th, 2014 10:13 AM

While it would appear this location should be profitable for Sears, no one but their accountants know for sure. They own quite a bit of land there, & the empty lots to the east aren't generating $$. A store that large likely has lots of unused/unneeded space. Sears has shrunk because for decades it has lost sight of how & what people buy. While they've righted the ship it'll never be what it was. Sharing this property w/a company that obviously gets it would be a wise business decision.

je from forest park   

Posted: February 28th, 2014 9:42 AM

They took the Sears towers now another very popular area! Sears Harlem/ North location is very beneficial to this area and to the residents there. Cancel the dream of building mariano's. And let Sears be!

Bobbie from Berwyn   

Posted: February 28th, 2014 9:28 AM

Everyone that's hoping that they build a mariano's at the Sears location obviously don't have family employed there. I've worked at Sears over ten years. Love the people love my job. At my age I'm looking to retire with this wonderful company. Sorry if everyone is looking for the next best thing, but this is not one!

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: February 23rd, 2014 1:10 PM

If Harlem & North can support both Mariano's & a retooled Sears that would be great. Pete's Fresh Market added to the mix is an upgrade. Pete's labor practices are fine...they were the targets of union thugs a couple years ago. A nonsensical money grab, nothing more.

Speedway from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 23rd, 2014 11:54 AM

Leah - I like this idea.

Leah Ann from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 23rd, 2014 10:04 AM

I would like to see a Maggiano's or Wildfire Restaurant on the corner of Lake and Harlem. Both of these restaurants have banquet rooms for events and are very popular. There are parking lots in the area some three hours free and some free after 6:00.P.M. Restaurant where you could host a luncheon or event would be great and folks in the city could take the Greenline. Would do you think?

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2014 10:34 PM

Gail, have you visited the Pete's in Oakbrook Terrace? It's a great full service store! I don't know anything about their labor practices except that they like to hire locally. Are you sure you have the right information for the right store-I think there are more than one with Pete or produce in the name? BTW, Oak Park will be having The Sugar Beet Coop soon. We may end up with too many grocery stores with Mariano's. I'd hate to see Sears leave.


Posted: February 22nd, 2014 8:10 PM

I work at this location for many years now. First of all this sears made the most money in 2013 ot was in top 50 nation wide. They have the business and the members that been coming back for years. Plus the grocery store Is way expansive for that neighborhood.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2014 7:56 PM

Oak Park won't generate any taxes from this Mariano's, since it will be in Chicago, but the traffic will be good for the businesses which are in Oak Park (on North Ave.)

Dick Portillo's Evil Twin  

Posted: February 22nd, 2014 4:21 PM

Not...gonna...happen. Drive 3.2 miles south down scenic Lathrop/Des Plaines Ave. Or 5 miles directly east to Northlake. We'll be waiting. Better yet...go to Johnnie's across the street...much better beef.

OP Transplant  

Posted: February 22nd, 2014 11:00 AM

I love how Gary says, "get a Portillos's built there." Yeah, that's how it works. We tell businesses where we want them to locate, and they do it.

Violet Aura from Forest Park--Sea of Flannel and Hiking Boots  

Posted: February 22nd, 2014 9:46 AM

I've never been--tell me, is this a good thing? I mean, I am familiar with some large produce markets like Caputo's and I was under the impression that Mariano's was rather high-end. To me, that equals higher produce prices, which I can always get ober by here. If Mariano's has decent produce prices plus true variety, then I am down with this.

Jeff from Oak Park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2014 8:53 AM

I second the motion for a closer Portillos!

Tom Gull from Oak Park  

Posted: February 22nd, 2014 7:27 AM

According to a tribune article in December, most Mariano's are about 65,000 square feet. This ruled out the Dominick's on Lake St which is about 27,000sf and definitely rules out the former Field's store at Lake and Harlem or the parcel at Lake and Forest unless they want to develop an 8 story grocery store. Imagine, one floor just for cereal.

Chuck from Oak Park  

Posted: February 21st, 2014 9:30 PM

I wish they could move into the old Borders building but I suppose parking would be an issue there...still, this isn't that much farther away and it would be nice to have one in OP wherever it is.

Grocery Fan  

Posted: February 21st, 2014 9:01 PM

Craftsman, Kenmore, Dockers, dress shirts for prom, quality towels, many good brands of shoes. Sears State street is going away, hoping for the combo at North and Harlem but there are some traffic issues.

Gail Moran from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 21st, 2014 8:32 PM

Totally awesome! Sears is going away soon - Mariano's would be a very welcome addition to a prime spot! Pete's is not a full service store and has questionable labor practices.

Gary Mancuso from River Forest  

Posted: February 21st, 2014 8:30 PM

Freida, you are correct. However, in this case developing a Portillo's at the River Forest Dominick's location makes sense because of the geographical barrier which is the Eisenhower Expressway. I love Portillo's but almost never visit their Forest Park location because it is just too far. But again we go to Golden Steer all the time.

Gary Mancuso from River Forest  

Posted: February 21st, 2014 8:17 PM

Dee, just to clarify Pete's is going to the Oak Park location on Lake Street. River Forest location is still available. Correct me if I am wrong.

Brian Chang from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 21st, 2014 8:17 PM

Pete's Fresh Market is going to the former Dominicks on Lake St in Oak Park. No one so far has expressed interest in the North Ave Dominicks location.


Posted: February 21st, 2014 8:11 PM

Portillo's has a Forest Park location , they would not build another so close. Forest Park is their 2nd highest volume location after River North. They keep the locations a certain amount of miles apart


Posted: February 21st, 2014 8:08 PM

Gary Mancuso, Pete's Fresh Mart is going there

Judy from RIver Forest  

Posted: February 21st, 2014 7:09 PM

Please don't put my email address-only Judy from RF. This would be great. Everyone should send an email to Bob Mariano and encourage him to come to that location. I contacted him several months ago regarding Hines Lumber in RF and he responded the next day. You can find him on the Mariano's website.

Anna from Oak Park  

Posted: February 21st, 2014 7:01 PM

This is great! Please come Mariano's, we'd love to have you here!

Gary Mancuso from River Forest  

Posted: February 21st, 2014 6:58 PM

Such great news! As far as the empty Dominick's in River Forest I say tear it down and get a Portillo's built there. Perfect land size for one of their restaurants. Come on Cathy Adduci, you are awesome and can make that happen. Awesome tax revenue too!

Suzette from Oak Park  

Posted: February 21st, 2014 6:44 PM

What's happening with the Forest and Lake Project ? If it is still dead-in-the-water, what not be bold and build from scratch the Mariano's of their dreams ?

Bob from Oak Park  

Posted: February 21st, 2014 6:44 PM

I'd like to see a split. Sears would probably benefit from it. By eliminating items that don't sell as well and putting the focus on the ones that do could extend the life of the store and its relevance to consumers. Add Mariano's customers to that mix and it could be a sort of golden age for Sears. Plus, not getting stuck by a train going to and from the store would be great. Sorry Caputo's.

Brian Chang from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 21st, 2014 6:40 PM

Sears is going away sooner or later without or without a Mariano's at that location. Might as well get a healthy business in place before the dinosaur keels over. Otherwise, we risk many years of a large, shuttered building in a prime location like the Borders/Marshall Fields property.


Posted: February 21st, 2014 6:38 PM

Sharon Bergmann, Pete's Fresh Mart is going there

Grocery Fan  

Posted: February 21st, 2014 5:56 PM

As much as I would love Mariano's, please not at the expense of Sears. It's a convenient department store ABOVE Target quality clothes, tools appliances. I have feared they will go away and they are so close for us to shop. Hopefully a multiuse site, there is the parking lot across the street too.

Sharon Bergmann from Oak Park  

Posted: February 21st, 2014 5:48 PM

What about the empty dominicks on North Ave?

Mariano Lover  

Posted: February 21st, 2014 5:45 PM

I REALLY hope they do this! It would provide a grocery option for an area where there are few, and Mariano's has so many options that I'm sure everyone would love it!

Kari from Oak park  

Posted: February 21st, 2014 5:37 PM

OMG would this be fab! Please let it happen!!!!

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