BRONZEVILLE — After more than five years in the making, Mariano’s new Bronzeville location opens Tuesday.
“This has been a passion project for all of us at Mariano’s,” said Amanda Puck, director of strategic brand development. “We’re really excited about the store being in the community.”
The 74,000-square-foot store at 3857 S. King Drive will employ more than 400 people, at least half of whom live in the area, store officials said. There are 351 parking spots for shoppers.
The Bronzeville Mariano's will be the only store in the chain to have a designated section for local products. In other stores, the products are spread throughout, but in Bronzeville customers can head to one spot and shop local.
This is the store's designated section for local products. [DNAinfo/Andrea V. Watson]
Naija’s Stew, Swagger Finer Foods and Margie's are just a few of the more than 50 local suppliers with products on the shelves.
It was important for the store to actively seek out local minority women to work with, said Jim Hyland, vice president of corporate communications and public affairs for Roundy’s, the parent company of Mariano's.
Hyland said Mariano’s is committed to working with minority women business owners and the chain holds a vendor fair seeking them out every two years.
“I think what we’ve done is proven that you can do that, and I think the proof is in the pudding — we’re opening Tuesday,” Hyland said. “It’s important to not just be in a community, but be a part of a community.”
The cheese department includes locally made selections. [DNAinfo/Andrea V. Watson]
Puck said that Mariano’s is ready to interact with the community beyond a level of customer/retailer. The store will sponsor activities for children, floral-decorating classes and sushi-rolling lessons. There will be wine-tasting events.
“We want the community to engage,” she said. “Anyway we can get people to just come in and have a good time is what we’re looking for,” said Puck.
Giving the community fresh food is the No. 1 goal, both Puck and Hyland said.
"As the mayor has said before, no child should live [farther than] 2 miles of having easy access to fresh food," Hyland said. "A grocery store means a lot to a community; I think much more so than a restaurant and a bank, because we bring nutritional security."
The prices are also affordable, Hyland said.
"We are a one-stop shop," he said. "We have what we consider everyday low prices, so we think this will be a very affordable alternative for the community."
Mariano's has an international aisle that includes ingredients from around the world. [DNAinfo/Andrea V. Watson]
The store also has an international aisle, an oyster bar that will offer wine- and beer-pairing classes, an in-store grill, sandwich shop, bakery, Oki Sushi Bar, a wine and spirits bar that includes frozen sangrias, and a fresh juice and smoothie station. There's also a Todd's BBQ, which smokes all its meats in-house, and a Vero Coffee and Gelato bar.
Customers can get a variety of foods cooked to-go or dine in.
The store is open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Pharmacy hours are 8 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
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