Joliet plans tax break for supermarket
By Bob Okon firstname.lastname@example.org December 3, 2012 10:10PM
Tony’s Finer Foods plans to open a store at the spot previously occupied by Strack & Van Til on Illinois 59 in Joliet. File photo | Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 6, 2013 9:45AM
Tony’s Finer Foods is in line for a $200,000 sales tax break.
The new store, which could open Jan. 1 in Joliet, is replacing a Strack & Van Til store that closed this year.
The tax rebate still has to be approved by the city council, but no council member objected when it was brought up at Monday’s meeting where the council approved a liquor license for Tony’s.
City Manager Thomas Thanas said he plans to bring the tax break to the council soon. He did not say when, but a store representative told the council that Tony’s is likely to open Jan. 1.
Tony’s had a job fair last week and is hiring 200 workers. Fifty of the jobs will be full time.
Under the proposal, the store will get $200,000 of sales tax revenue rebated to it, Thanas said. He said a similar incentive was provided for a Tony’s store in Niles and suggested that the rebate was needed to get the store in Joliet.
“It is a very competitive economic climate that we’re in,” Thanas told the council.
He said he wanted council members to be aware of the proposed tax break before they voted on the license to sell packaged liquor at the store. No one voted against the license.
No one commented on the tax break except Mayor Thomas Giarrante, who only noted that Tony’s used union labor in a major remodeling job at the store, which is in a shopping center at Route 59 and Caton Farm Road.
The arrival of Tony’s has been well received by the mayor’s office because the store fills a big commercial vacancy created by the closing of Strack & Van Til. Deputy Liquor Commissioner James Murphy gave the store an endorsement when he presented its request for a liquor license to the council.
“We are about to raise the bar for grocery stores in Joliet,” Murphy said.
Tony’s strategy is to provide a unique blend of ethnic foods and local items that cater to the tastes of the immediate community surrounding the store. The Joliet store will be the Itasca-based company’s ninth in the Chicago area and the farthest from Chicago.
Jim Marnos, director of human resources for Tony’s, told the council that coming to Joliet was “venturing out of our comfort zone. But we feel so comfortable here. It feels like home already.”