Originally published at The Red Line Project
Dec. 29, 2014
“I’ve been shopping at Dominick’s since I was a kid. I’m not sure where I’m going to go now,” she said. “Sometimes I like shopping at Whole Foods, so I’ll probably end up going there more.”
It turns out Sardler isn’t the only Chicagoan who likes shopping at Whole Foods. According to Safeway President and CEO Robert Edwards, the success of specialty grocers likes Whole Foods was a major reason Dominick’s failed in the Chicago market.
Edwards told Wall Street analysts that Dominick’s supermarkets had struggled to maintain customers in recent years as the Chicago market became “fragmented” with specialized grocery stores.
Dominick’s couldn’t match the discount grocery prices of chains like Wal-Mart and Aldi or the gourmet offerings of Whole Foods and Mariano’s.
And Dominick’s 72 area stores could not compete with the convenience of longtime rival Jewel, which has 178 Illinois locations.
Catherine Oliver, another customer looking through final clearance items at Dominick’s in Old Town, said she actually wasn’t too upset over the store closings.
“I’ve always preferred Jewel over Dominick’s because I think they have better prices,” she said. “I’m just here today looking for good deals.”
Luis Galvan, a former employee at Dominick’s on Madison Avenue and Halsted Street, said work had been very tense for him following the notice of closure.
“I had only been working with the company for three years and I wasn’t eligible for severance,” Galvan said. “So I just decided to quit.”
As Chicago area Dominick’s stores closed their doors for the last time this past Saturday, some 6,000 employees also found themselves out of jobs. Only those employees working with the company for seven years or more qualify to receive severance packages.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently created a Grocery Store Task Force to help workers impacted by the store closings and to find buyers for unsold Dominick’s locations.
Roundy’s Inc. has purchased 11 Dominick’s locations and will convert them into Mariano’s stores. Four locations will become Jewel stores. The future for nearly 60 unsold Dominick’s sites is still unknown.