BRIDGEPORT — With a little more than a month to go before Dominick’s Finer Foods closes up shop in Chicago, shoppers in Bridgeport and McKinley Park are wondering the fate of their neighborhood store.
So far, it's anybody's guess.
The company is expected to shutter 68 area stores, including its 15 city locations, if buyers don't emerge for them before Dec. 28.
Only two locations have been snatched up so far, both by Jewel-Osco — one in Lincoln Park at 2550 N. Clybourn Ave. and the other in the South Loop, 1340 S. Canal St.
If no one rescues the Bridgeport location at 3145 S. Ashland Ave., local shoppers would still have a range of other options, including the big-box Target, a new Save-a-Lot on busy Halsted Street, the nearby Cermak Produce in Bridgeport, Fairplay in Canaryville and the newly opened Mariano's Fresh Market in the South Loop.
But some local shoppers say those stores are either too crowded, too fancy or too far away.
And that leaves shoppers like Bridgeport’s Russel Tvrdik a little irked.
“I understand the prices are a little higher [at Dominick's] than most places, but I don't like grocery shopping at Target or Wal-Mart. I think there is still something to be said about being loyal to companies that have been around for a long time,” he said.
The chain was started in 1918 by Italian immigrant Dominick DiMatteo, who opened a deli at 3832 W. Ohio Avenue and named it after his son, Dominick DiMatteo, Jr.
Safeway acquired Dominick's in 1998 for $1.8 billion. The company did not return a call seeking comment.
“The service there is good and workers are friendly but I'm usually bagging my own groceries and walking out with two bags for like $80,” said shopper David Gallegos.
Polled on Facebook, Bridgeport and McKinley Park residents said they liked the Bridgeport location, situated in a large plaza accessible from busy Archer and Ashland avenues, for its customer service.
"I always get really good service, whether I am waiting for a prescription, at the deli or the checkout," said shopper Maret O'Hare.
Earlier this month, Mark Briehan was walking out to his car with a small cart of groceries, annoyed at the prospect of corporate maneuvers resulting in changes to his shopping habits.
He and his wife are now reading the labels of their favorite Dominick’s products in an effort to learn what other grocery stores may carry them.
Like lots of shoppers, the Lawndale resident zigs and zags to different stores for different items, but said he liked the prices of Dominick’s produce, which has kept him coming back to the Bridgeport store for years.
He said he wouldn't mind seeing a store like Mariano's replace Dominick's, but he cautioned against higher prices.
“I ain’t paying two dollars for a pepper," he said.