LINCOLN SQUARE — Don't be fooled by the produce section brimming with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Business is the opposite of usual at the Lincoln Square Dominick's, 5233 N. Lincoln Ave., scheduled to close its doors for good on Dec. 28.
The snack shelves have been picked clean. Bottled water and soda are running low. The freezer section is bereft of Breyer's ice cream.
And don't even bother with the health and beauty aisle. After a 50 percent off sale, the only items left standing are boxes of off-brand cold medicine and containers of L'eggs pantyhose.
Of parent company Safeway Inc.'s 15 Chicago Dominick's stores — all closing by year's end — two have been purchased by Jewel-Osco, three by Mariano's. The Lincoln Avenue store is among those without a buyer.
Ald. Pat O'Connor's (40th) office confirmed to DNAinfo.com that the alderman has a meeting scheduled this week with representatives from Tony's Finer Foods, but couldn't elaborate. Tony's Finer Foods couldn't be reached for comment.
"It's just rumors until we see it on the news," said store manager Dallas Killman.
Further bargain-basement deals are expected on Friday, he said, when merchandise in "interior aisles" — not produce or liquor — goes on sale.
Some items are actually still being restocked as Safeway empties its warehouse. "It's hit or miss," Killman said.
Devoted Dominick's shoppers like Stella Phelps could be found in the store on Tuesday afternoon, looking for favorite items while they still can be had.
"I came to get spaghetti sauce," said Phelps, who's a fan of Safeway's private label. "It was mostly gone."
Phelps isn't sure where she'll shop for groceries in the future.
"I can't afford Whole Foods. Aldi is OK, but sometimes I want my brand names," she said. "It's sad to see something that's been a stalwart in my life just disappear."
"It's going to be a company to miss," said Daniel Ortiz, who was picking up meat and frozen pizza. "They have better deals than Jewel — their sales here are outrageous. I'm sad to see it go."
For the Lincoln Avenue location, the closing comes just three years after the store was completely rebuilt from the ground up. In September 2010, the store re-opened as one of the chain's "lifestyle" models — complete with Starbucks, cafe and upscale bakery and deli — with Dominick's president on hand for the occasion.
Unless a buyer steps in at the 11th hour, all those amenities will disappear.
Asked about the mood of his staff in the store's final weeks, Killman could only tersely respond: "There is no mood."