SOUTH SHORE — Dominick's, the grocery chain with Chicago roots going back to 1918, officially went out of business Saturday.
Nearly three months after the October announcement by its parent company Safeway Inc. that it would seek to sell and close all of Dominick's locations, the stores, including those in Chicago, locked their doors for the last time at noon Saturday.
At the Dominick's in South Shore, 2101 E. 71st St., last-minute shoppers came to scoop up deals and say goodbye to the grocery store and its employees.
"This store has been an anchor," said Henrietta Sept, who has been shopping at the store since moving to the neighborhood in 1990. "I'm really dealing with the fact that I won't have this store to come to anymore."
Neighborhood and city leaders have taken steps to make sure shuttered Dominick's sites don't go empty for long.
Three of the city's 15 Dominick's have been sold to Mariano's Fresh Market, while two others are converting into a Jewel-Osco.
Earlier this month, the South Shore Planning Coalition held a meeting to discuss what can be done with the space; Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) is one of several members of a city task force aimed at finding new life in shuttered Dominick's.
"Being in a neighborhood like this, it was good to have Dominick's here," said Mary Young, a 61-year-old South Shore resident. "It's a good place with good produce."
Though rumors have swirled around the future of the other ones, nothing has been confirmed regarding the 10 other sites, including the one in South Shore.
Hairston has worried South Shore would become a food desert with the closing the grocery store.
By Saturday, most of the merchandise had been snatched up several days before as shoppers took advantage of storewide discounts of up to 75 percent off.
Across the city, in Lincoln Park, employees were pondering the future and remembering the past.
Tyshay Walker, 21, has worked at the Starbucks in Lincoln Park's Dominick's at 959 W. Fullerton Ave. for more than a year, commuting from Roseland.
"It's sad because there are so many memories," Walker said. "It's a sense of emptiness now."
Walker said she isn't worried about finding work at another Starbucks.
"For the other employees, it's kind of hard," she said.
By 11:30 a.m., customers were mostly walking through the stores revolving doors — and coming right back out.
"They just said, 'All we have are plastic bags,'" said Lincoln Park resident Jim Tenbroeck, who was looking for a bottle of water. "So, I guess they're done."
Tenbroeck said it wasn't too inconvenient for him, as he shops mostly at Whole Foods, but he wondered about other Lincoln Park residents.
"In the future, it might be a bummer," he said. "I'm sure the DePaul students need a place to shop. I'm not sure what they're going to do."
The South Shore store's inventory on the last day was confined to a small number of shelves near the front of the store, most of which was hugely discounted.
Among the remaining items Saturday morning were a few dozen boxes of Jell-o pudding mix, several cans of Libby's pumpkin pie mix, various types of Pearls black olives and Manischewitz Matzo balls and a few boxes of Safeway-brand lice treatment shampoo.
Lynetta Allen, a 44-year-old resident who lives across the street from the store, has made several trips to Dominick's in its waning weeks to stock up on toothpaste and other essentials.
Allen, who doesn't have a car, says the closure will be a big loss to her neighborhood, though she will find other options including the Jewel-Osco at 7530 S. Stony Island Ave., a mile away from the Dominick's.
"It's going to be difficult, but I'm going to figure it out," Allen says while taking a look the remaining pharmacy items.
Debbie Datewood, a 17-year employee at the location and the store's head clerk, said the closure is a loss for the neighborhood she lives in.
She thanked many of the customers for coming in during the last hours of business.
"Kids grew up coming to this store and now they are bringing their kids," Datewood said. "These people didn't come to shop today. They came to say goodbye."
The locations of the 15 city Dominick's that closed were :
• 2101 E. 71st St. in South Shore
• 3145 S. Ashland Ave. in McKinley Park (converting to Mariano's)
• 1340 S. Canal St. in the South Loop (converting to Jewel-Osco)
• 1 N. Halsted St. in Greektown
• 2021 W. Chicago Ave. in Ukrainian Village (converting to Mariano's)
• 255 E. Grand Ave. on the Near North Side
• 424 W. Division St. in Old Town
• 959 W. Fullerton Ave. in Lincoln Park
• 2550 N. Clybourn Ave. in Lincoln Park (converting to Jewel-Osco)
• 5233 N. Lincoln Ave. in Lincoln Square
• 5201 N. Sheridan Road in Edgewater (converting to Mariano's)
• 6009 N. Broadway in Edgewater
• 6623 N. Damen Ave. in West Rogers Park
• 1763 W. Howard St. in Rogers Park
• 6312 N. Nagle Ave. in Norwood Park