If your name is Stephanie Dremonas, CEO of Pete’s Fresh Market, Wednesday Journal would like to talk with you. And while, at the suggestion of your PR guy, we will begin avidly following your Instagram page for even a hint you are really going to someday build a new grocery store at Oak Park and Madison, we’d still like to speak with you. 

Gracious that said PR guy told our reporter that you would “reach out if she has any interest in commenting.”

But here’s the thing, Ms. Dremonas, Oak Parkers have been staring for decades at a vacant two block stretch of village-owned property on Madison. And those taxpayers actually paid for the privilege through multiple phases of assembling that large parcel, which included a contentious demolition of a notable, if obsolete, old auto dealership, and paying CarX more than a million bucks to skedaddle. And then the village donated the entire parcel to your family business.

The plan to bring new life to that part of Madison Street was put forward in 2018. That’s five years ago. Now Pete’s did not become attached to the project until somewhat later, but another aspect of the project, the senior living American House, has already been built and occupied.

The natives are restless, Ms. Dremonas. It seems increasingly preposterous that we are pushing two years and still being told the major cause of delay is the removal and relocation of utilities. And the line that yours is a small family-owned corner store that can only build one massive grocery store at a time is wearing thin. 

We did find a village government spokesman who told us that Pete’s representatives were actually at village hall last Friday. The village, not impatient enough in our estimation, was told Pete’s was meeting with the utilities this week to seek closure on that boondoggle and that Pete’s plans to submit a permit application later in August or in September to begin laying the store’s foundation.

You could have told us that.

Oak Parkers and West Siders love the Pete’s on Lake Street. You have residual goodwill in these communities. Be smart enough to play off that positive connection by being direct with your future customers. People will accept that COVID played havoc with all aspects of construction. Everyone already hates utility companies. 

But, at this point, telling Oak Parkers to follow you on social media is just insulting. 

Do better. Be honest. Admit your own frustrations over this endless process. Tell people your plans to catch up on this project. And provide frequent updates. 

You might even do that through the local paper.  

Join the discussion on social media!