Odds and ends with some a bit odder than others: Deno’s backing.
Didn’t make it into last week’s column on Deno Andrews’ decision to drop his re-election bid for the Oak Park Village Board. Just ran out of space. But I asked the departing candidate if he had plans to endorse in the race.
“If I do endorse anyone, and this is not an endorsement, it would be Vicki (Scaman). We ran with Vicki four years ago,” he said. Back then “we” was Andrews, Dan Moroney and Simone Boutet. All three of them announced in 2021 for either re-election or to step up to village president. Now all three have stepped away in a strange series of choices.
Meanwhile, Vicki Scaman who ran for village clerk in 2017 remains in the race for village president. With Boutet and Moroney gone poof, her single opponent is Cate Readling.
Before there was Pete’s: It is, said this non-betting man, a sure thing that the Oak Park Village Board is going to imminently OK construction of a new Pete’s Fresh Market on village-owned land at Madison Street and Oak Park Avenue. Not wanting to look dumb, I’d hedge that bet only by pointing out that the current village board is unraveling and therefore unpredictable.
But Pete’s will happen. And that has interesting consequences. Some locals are legitimately worried that a large, modern Pete’s will put the wonderful Sugar Beet Coop — less than a block away — out of business. Ditto those concerns for the also vital Carnival Grocery a couple of blocks south on Oak Park Avenue.
I’m not so sure, though I get the worry. Sugar Beet has a niche and loyal following and a great lease. Carnival is a legitimate neighborhood grocery and not a main destination for the big restocking trips. And it is innovating with a new home delivery app that should help.
More than Pete’s, local grocers might worry about the long-rumored Amazon Fresh that is reportedly eyeing Harlem and North. It is a technological gamechanger if you have the energy to change your entire method of buying groceries. Not sure I do.
Meanwhile, quietly, the often ragged Jewel stores on Madison and on Roosevelt have recently benefitted from substantial investments by its Boise-based overlords at Albertsons. One might have thought Boise had forgotten these stores after not dropping a dime in them for 25 years. But they are sporting new lighting, new freezers, new products, better produce.
There was a time not long back when the expectation was that Jewel would be the chain building at Madison and Oak Park. Boise got cold feet and Anan Abu-Taleb worked his charm on Pete’s, convincing them to build a second store about 1.5 miles from its very successful Lake Street location.
White Sox baseball! Before this snow-blitzed month ends, the White Sox will play their first Spring Training game in Arizona. I suppose the Cubs might do that, too. But it is the Sox who have earned the hope while the Trump-backing Ricketts-family has sat on their billions in an off-season that is neither a rebuild nor a legitimate contending effort.