MCKINLEY PARK — Grocery shoppers expecting big bargains before the local Dominick's goes out of business may be in for a surprise.
Unlike the blowout sales taking place at other soon-to-be shuttered Chicago stores, the McKinley Park store, 3145 S. Ashland Ave., isn't participating in the deep discount bonanza because it's not closing for at least another month.
A sign greeting shoppers warns "the store is not going to be closing on Dec. 28 therefore we will not be participating in reduction of product."
And it appears the same applies to the sales, which at other stores have included discounts up to 50 percent off nearly everything, including booze.
That took shoppers like Diana Martinez and Hugo Ortiz by surprise. The pair stopped into the store Wednesday for a grab-and-go lunch, expecting empty shelves and big sales.
"We expected great deals, but no," Martinez said.
Meanwhile, some of the store's longtime employees wondered what the future would hold.
In October, Safeway Inc., which operates 72 Dominick's stores in Illinois, including 15 in Chicago, announced it was leaving the Chicago market by 2014. Three Dominick's stores in Chicago are slated to be converted into a Mariano's Fresh Markets, while a handful of others are being taken over by Jewel-Osco.
The McKinley Park store will soon transition into a Mariano's, but that chain's parent company has said existing employees will have to re-interview for their jobs.
Inside the Ashland Avenue store, one employee said the biggest fear of the current workforce is that they'll be offered their jobs back, but for much less money.
Roundy's, the Wisconsin-based corporate parent of Mariano's, is hosting a job fair "to recruit staff for existing and future locations." It's scheduled for 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at the Chicago Marriott Southwest at Burr Ridge hotel, 1200 Burr Ridge Parkway in Burr Ridge.
Meanwhile, the Chase Bank branch warns customers the teller windows and three ATMS would close at 5 p.m. on Dec. 27. A teller said the branch's would be transferred to other locations, not laid off.
It's unclear when the grocery store will close for good, but an employee said it will be "sometime next year, at the end of January or February."
A store manager declined comment and a representative from Dominick's parent company Safeway did not return messages seeking comment.