Shoppers in Elmhurst were disappointed to learn about parent company Safeway's recent decision to either close or sell its local Dominick's grocery stores.
While pushing a filled cart in the parking lot, Tara Hudzik, of Elmhurst, said she shops at the store two or three times a week. She was there Friday with her daughter, Scarlett, 4, and her son, M.J., 8 months.
"It makes us very sad because it's the most convenient store for us," she said. She also liked the store's weekly sale items.
"We liked the $5 pizza on Fridays," she said.
Nancy Quinn, of Bensenville, also was disappointed by the news. She works for a greeting card company and stocks cards at the Dominick's store in the Elmhurst Crossing Shopping Center at 215 S. Illinois Highway 83.
"I think it's terrible," Quinn said. "There are people in there who really need jobs. Where are they going to go?"
She said she's worried that possible store closings will have a ripple effect and place other peoples' jobs in jeopardy.
It's unclear what will happen to the 72 locations in the area, but current plans are for the company to leave the market by the end of 2013.
The company said it has sold four Dominick's sites to the operator of competitor Jewel-Osco, two Chicago locations, a Homer Glen store and a Glenview store.
Officials with the City of Elmhurst also are hoping that the loss of Dominick's will not mean the loss of a grocery store near its western border with Villa Park. Assistant City Manager Mike Kopp said the city has reached out to the broker/manager to try to find out what their plans are for the site.
"They (the broker/manager) are not sure what that site will be," Kopp said. "We hope there will continue to be a grocery store on that side of town."
He said there is a current lease for the Dominick's site. He said the store could be subleased to a grocery store or another type of business as long as it doesn't compete with other stores in the shopping center.
"Anything can go in there as long as the owners agree to it," Kopp said, adding that the city would have input on the type of business that might locate in the Dominick's space if it didn't meet zoning laws.
New competition for grocery shoppers in Elmhurst has emerged recently. A Mariano's opened earlier this year on North York Road. The city also has two Jewel stores.
Safeway bought Dominick's, which has Chicago roots going back to the 1920s, for $1.2 billion in 1998.
Most of the Dominick's store real estate is leased, not owned, according to company officials. Safeway said it owns about 15 to 20 grocery store buildings here.
Ronald Powell, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 881, which represents Dominick's Chicago employees, said the 6,600 workers are working on a contract that expired at the end of last year. A Dominick's spokeswoman said stores will stay open until the end of the year, whether or not they are sold.
Hudzik said the Dominick's store is part of her day-to-day life with her children that she will miss. She said the employees in the deli always have a little snack on hand for her daughter, and they go to the store before they go to a nearby park.
"We always stop here to pick up food before we go for a picnic in the park," she said.
The broker/manager could not be reached for comment.
Freelance reporter Elizabeth Owens-Schiele contributed to this report.