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December 13 was both a lucky and an unlucky day for patrons of the Dominick’s Food Stores in Evanston.
The brief good fortune of finding everything in the store on sale at half price was tempered by the knowledge that the stores would close their doors for good within a few days.
Their absence leaves a hole in Northwest Evanston, where it was the only grocery store west of Green Bay Road, and in west central Evanston, where it anchored Evanston Plaza, Dempster Street at Dodge Avenue.
The parking lot of the Green Bay Road Dominick’s was jammed that day and shoppers loaded their carts and their cars in what might be their last visit to the store. Many returned a few days later, when alcoholic beverages went on sale.
Things were calmer at Evanston Plaza, where many of the shelves were already vacant, not to be restocked, but fresh produce was still available.
The future of both stores is still uncertain.
It is not clear what will happen with the employees of either store, some of whom have worked there for years and have made friends with their customers.
Alderman Jane Grover, in whose Seventh Ward the Green Bay Road Dominick’s was located, said she and other residents are in the process or arranging a reception of appreciation for the employees of that store, planned for 2 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 20 at the store.
There has been speculation about a grocery store taking over the Green Bay Dominick’s space, but nothing has been confirmed. Calls and emails from the RoundTable to Whole Foods were not returned. Whole Foods was one company rumored to be considering the Green Bay Road space.
City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz told the RoundTable, “The best we know is there has been really no progress on the issue with either of the Dominick’s stores.” He said an announcement is expected shortly from Dominick’s about which stores have been re-leased. “We feel pretty confident that the Green Bay store is going to be picked up in pretty short order. “For the store at Dempster/Dodge, things are a little less clear. Our focus it to be prepared to gear up in the wake of [Dominick’s] announcement … so that if either store is not on the list [of having new occupancy] we can hit the ground running the first week of January to create an immediate future.”
Both stores are set to close on Dec. 28.