Pan's building on the market, but Oak Park business not for sale

Longtime family-owned grocery store evaluating future

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

For the sake of settling one rumor: Pan's Food Center is not for sale. But the building belonging to the family-owned local business is on the market.

The roughly 11,600 square-feet building at 824 S. Oak Park is listed by local real estate agent David King. Pan's is owned by the Vlahos family, which was started by family patriarch John, and is now run by his sons, Steve and Jim.

"The business isn't for sale," Steve Vlahos confirmed Wednesday.

Nor are there specific plans to move elsewhere in town — at least not for now. But a successful sale, Vlahos added, could influence any future decisions.

"I can't say what can happen. We're doing what we can," he said, adding that for now it's "business as usual."

Vlahos said the family decided to sell the building in hopes of "exploring options for capital revenue." They're hoping, he adds, to see what interest there is in the property before they decide what's next.

Pan's Food Center has been a faithful community store for nearly three decades, giving customers that sense of nostalgia after walking through the doors. Pan's has a reputation of being a place where you get to know the cashiers, the deli man and the owners. And it's the only place in town that offered home-delivery of groceries for those who need it.

"It's like a little family," Vlahos said. "You get to know people."

Email: Twitter: @AnnaLothson

Reader Comments

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OP Resident #973 from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 3rd, 2013 10:16 PM

I've had to return spoiled meat to Pan's and I've since seen questionable "fresh" items in their meat department. Fresh meat isn't brown. Pan's is fine for veggies and sundries. I'd be sad to lose them for convenience sake but there's much better meat at Blue Ribbon Meats on Austin and a better overall shopping experience at Caputo's in Elmwood Park.

Local ?  

Posted: August 1st, 2013 12:47 PM

None of current owners live in Oak Park. Not sure all the money stays local. Previous owners- Panicolas lived in OP

Paddy Boy  

Posted: August 1st, 2013 12:09 PM

I heard a lad named Peter has put an offer down on this property.

joe from south oak park  

Posted: August 1st, 2013 11:58 AM

I always try and support Pan's over the Jewel on Roosevelt. Just feel better knowing that my money is going to a local business. No to mention the prices are much better than the big chain grocers.

Build it  

Posted: August 1st, 2013 11:26 AM

The Vlahos family owned the building at Lake and Forest that was sold for a HEFTY price. With the sale of their current building they should have enough money to buy a new site and build twice as big.....

pln from Oak Park  

Posted: August 1st, 2013 9:11 AM

I do hope this means that they are not moving or leaving OP. Seriously, I don't know where I would do my shopping. My Grandparents and parents were small business owners and I've always preferred to shop at similar establishments as opposed to chains. Shopping at Pan's is 100 percent more enjoyable than (shudder) shopping at Jewel!

OP Walker from Oak Park  

Posted: August 1st, 2013 8:23 AM

I love Pan's! It is so convenient for me to pick up items on my way home from work. I don't have a car so it's easy for me to shop there for a bag of groceries and walk home with it. The South side of OP definitely relies on Pan's--don't go anywhere :-)

Lynn from oak park  

Posted: August 1st, 2013 8:02 AM

When I moved here from NYC 30 plus years ago one of the deciding factors in which house to buy was PAN'S Grocery store - even though I had a car at the time I was used to walking and doing things locally and Pan's was right there when I exited the Blue Line- all these years later I still shop at Pan's - almost everything else has changed but Pan's is still there - every time I special ordered a leg of lamb or standing rib roast for a holiday family dinner they came through -Thank you Pan's !


Posted: July 31st, 2013 8:13 PM

I've been shopping at Pan's for about 5 years, and I only wish I'd discovered it sooner. I would have saved a lot of money--prices are way better than at the chain grocery stores.

Elizabeth Rexford from Oak Park  

Posted: July 31st, 2013 8:07 PM

I would be lost without Pan's. They deliver all my groceries right to my table for $4! I go into the store first to select and pay for all my items. Pan's does the rest. It's a wonderful service, especially for me, since I don't own a car. It's small enough so that if you forget something, you don't have to walk a mile to get it. Their produce and meats are fresh and reasonably priced. I hope Pan's will stay there. Everyone: shop at Pan's!

Steve from Oak Park  

Posted: July 31st, 2013 7:09 PM

Oak Park needs a MARIANO'S!!!

mr from oak park  

Posted: July 31st, 2013 6:11 PM

I really hope that Pan's food stays where it is. It has so much to offer the south community. They do special orders for meats and they are so helpful. It would really be a lose for the people on the south end of town. I won't by meat any other store. I would be lost if they decide to move. Very Friendly and they is very comforting.

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