Shuttered North Avenue Fresh Market eyed by grocer, merchandiser

OPEDC: At least two or three buyers looking at recently closed grocery store

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

It's been nearly a month since North Avenue Fresh Market grocery store abruptly closed its doors, but it might not be long before another grocer takes its place.

John Hedges, executive director of the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation, said in a telephone interview that at least one grocery store and one general merchandise store is looking to move in to the shuttered grocery store at 6209 W. North Ave. In previous incarnations the site was a Jewel Food Store and an Osco.

"There are at least two or three or maybe four entities interested," he said.

Hedges said OPEDC is not involved in the deal, but added, "It looks like it's going to fill up quickly."

Loretta Daly, Oak Park business services manager, said in a telephone interview that she also has heard that a couple of different parties are interested in the site. She said the village has not spoken directly with anyone considering moving into the location.

"All we hear at this point is what's being said in the community," she said.

North Avenue Fresh Market's parent company Michael's Market LLC could not immediately be reached for comment. Michael's Fresh Market filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Dec. 30, 2011.

Public records show the building was sold to 6209 West North Investment Group LLC in June 2004. That company's manager is listed as Yman Vien, who is chairman of American Metro Bank, which is located in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood.

Michael's Market LLC listed more than $1 million in debts in the bankruptcy filing to more than 100 separate creditors.

According to a Wednesday Journal article published in 2012, the company's five stores were turning a $50 million profit when the bankruptcy was filed. But in 2010 the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation prevented Premier Bank, Michael's Fresh Market LLC's lender, from lending to the company in 2010 because of "unsound" banking practices. The FDIC also prevented the bank from issuing credit.

Michael's said in its bankruptcy filing that the lending freeze prevented them from adequately providing "their customers with the desired range and depth of inventory."


Reader Comments

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Keyana from Chicago  

Posted: August 25th, 2014 11:15 AM

I would like to know if the store is open I use to work for Noth Ave. Fresh Market and I'm looking for a job

Judith Alexander from Oak Park  

Posted: August 5th, 2014 5:55 PM

Ald. Graham did support EZ Pawn. But since that time, she has helped the community keep Behind Close Doors from opening at 6206 W North Ave. At the community's request, she also down-zoned the shuttered Walgreens at Mobile/North so that we can have some say in what business goes in there next. Judgments should be based on full information.

Len from River Forest  

Posted: August 1st, 2014 10:19 PM

It's got to be killing Deborah Graham that this store is in Oak Park, and not across the street in Chicago--she'd love to put a pawn shop there.

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: August 1st, 2014 9:03 PM

Thank you, Tim I., for the report; despite JBM's whining, communication is actually a good thing. Speaking of communicating... if this Fresh Market had communicated to OPEDC its money troubles despite being so profitable serving northeastern OP and the eastern Galewood Chgo neighborhood well, could OP have reeped more immediate and familiar gains by lending them a million bucks than giving a million point five to Pete's that isn't serving anybody anything for some time to come?

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: August 1st, 2014 9:00 PM

Strange how Sugar Beet picked up assistance to the tune of 500K plus, and Michaels picked up nothing. I wonder if the Village reached out to Michaels?And if not, why not?


Posted: August 1st, 2014 7:01 PM

PLEASE, Not another Dollar Store!

JBK from Oak Park  

Posted: August 1st, 2014 6:18 PM

Given the economic impact of a shuttered retail establishment on the village's budget, follow-up stories on potential developments are always welcome. Also, given recent concerns about village concessions to new businesses, it is nice to know whether similar discussions are underway or not.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 1st, 2014 5:19 PM

Sorry James. My thought was that we might get more coverage on information we want if we did not get a continuous array of development stories. The Rumor Blog is over the top.


Posted: August 1st, 2014 5:07 PM

There's nothing wrong with this story, stop being such a curmudgeon.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 1st, 2014 5:05 PM

Does WJ go too far when it is running a development rumor mill?

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