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Norwood Park Dominick's in Limbo

By Heather Cherone | December 5, 2013 7:51am
  It is unclear what will happen to the store at 6312 N. Nagle Ave. after Dominick's closes by Dec. 27.
Norwood Park Dominick's in Limbo
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NORWOOD PARK — The fate of the Norwood Park Dominick's store is in limbo, with less than a month until it is scheduled to close.

While Mariano's Fresh Markets announced plans this week to buy 11 Dominick's stores throughout the Chicago area, the store at 6312 N. Nagle Ave. wasn't on the list — leaving local leaders, employees and shoppers wondering what will become of it.

"I hope it just doesn't sit vacant," Joe Kubica said while on his way into the store to stock up on his favorite honey wafers before the store closes. "I hope it keeps going."

Kubica said he has been shopping at the Dominick's near Nagle, Devon and Milwaukee avenues off and on for 15 to 20 years.

"It is a real shame," Kubica said, noting that thousands of cars must drive by the strip mall that includes a bank, a drugstore and a nail salon every day — including many undoubtedly on their way to famed hot dog joint Superdawg across the street.

Jason Hernandez, senior advisor to Ald. Mary O'Connor (41st), said she is working with the city's economic development department to identify a good tenant for the store, which also includes a Starbucks cafe.

Bea McDonough, the executive director of the Norwood Park Chamber of Commerce, said she hadn't heard anything about the store's future.

Dominick's is expected to shutter 68 area stores, including its 15 city locations, by the end of December.

Earlier this year, Jewel-Osco bought two Dominick's stores, in Lincoln Park and in the South Loop, and Mariano's plans to buy stores in Edgewater, McKinley Park and West Town. Two other Mariano's stores will open in Ukrainian Village and Bucktown.

Whole Foods is also interested in seven Dominick's stores, but not the Norwood Park location, according to a report in Crain's Chicago Business.

Whole Foods just opened a new store in Park Ridge, which is not far from Norwood Park.

Carlos Burgos, who works as a customer service representative at the Norwood Park Dominick's, said he and the rest of the store's employees had hoped to know their fate by now.

"We're just waiting," Burgos said, adding that he fields questions from dozens of anxious shoppers every day. "We've heard that someone bought us, but we don't know who."

Burgos said he and his co-workers are relieved they will have jobs at least through the holiday season.

"Everyone is worried," Burgos said.

On Wednesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office announced it is forming a task force to help find new tenants for any Dominick's stores that aren't bought by the end of the year.

Eleanor Toman, who said she has been shopping at the store since it opened in the 1980s, said she would miss its wide selection of cat food.

"I wish it would stay just the way it is," Toman said. "It is a nice store in a nice spot."

But if it does close without a new tenant, Toman isn't worried that her cat will go hungry.

"Most of the time now I go to the Marino's on Elston [Avenue] near Foster [Avenue] anyway," Toman said. "Everything changes."