Lake County Dominick's patrons may have to do their New Year's shopping elsewhere this year as Safeway, Inc., plans to shutter 68 Chicago and suburban stores on or before Dec. 28 if they are not sold. A Gurnee Dominick's employee confirmed Friday that unless the store is purchased by another grocer from Safeway Inc., before Dec. 28, it will close.
According to Crain's Chicago Business, Dominick's employees from suburban Chicago stores have received a letter stating that if the stores are not bought by Dec. 28, they will be closed. Seventy-two Dominick's stores, owned by Safeway, are in the Chicago region; so far four of them have been sold to Jewel-Osco, but none of them in Lake County.
Safeway Director of Public Affairs Lauri Sander said, "We are working to sell all of the 68 remaining properties. Those not committed to [being resold] will close on or before Dec. 28."
Last month, Safeway announced its intent to close the stores by early 2014. Local officials including Mundelein Mayor Steve Lentz and Fox Lake Mayor Donny Schmit said they had no forewarning from Safeway that it would be closing and attempting to sell Dominick's in both towns. Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik was not surprised, saying the Dominick's in her town is rarely busty.
In Lake County, Dominick's stores are located at 6655 Grand Ave. in Gurnee, Route 176 and Milodthian Road in Mundelein and 1258 S. Route 12 in Fox Lake. Safeway also owns two stories in Buffalo Grove and one each in Lake Zurich and Lake Bluff.
Schmitt said the the Fox Lake store "is not a big producer" of sales tax in the town. The village of Mundelein earns $250,000 annually in sales tax from Dominick's, said Lentz.
In calendar year 2012, Gurnee received $640,712 in sales tax from the sale of food, which is nearly 4 percent of the village's sales tax revenue, said Eriik Jensen, public information officer for Gurnee
"As many grocery items are untaxed, the grocery retail market is typically a small portion of most municipal sales tax revenue streams," he said.
Lentz expects if the Mundelein Dominicks' store closes without a buyer, the sales tax will be made up from other grocery stores in the village. But, "we're very optimistic," that someone will buy the store. "The [Dominick's] we have in Mundelein is in a real good location," said Lentz, adding the store was doing well. "So we assume they'll find a buyer.
He said if they don't find a buyer, a big void would be left in the shopping plaza, where Dominick's is now the anchor store.