Dominick’s: From pioneer to passe
BY BOB OKON email@example.com October 17, 2013 8:38PM
Updated: November 19, 2013 6:10AM
It was a big deal when Dominick’s opened in Shorewood in 2001.
But a lot has changed since then. Dominick’s, which is scheduled to disappear from the marketplace by early 2014, was one of the first big retailers on a number of new commercial corridors — Route 59 in Shorewood, Weber Road in Romeoville, and Essington Road in Joliet.
Now, 12 years later, all of those areas have lots of competition, and Dominick’s is fading away.
The late Bertha Hofer, who at that time was the recently retired mayor of Shorewood, came to the Dominick’s grand opening because it was such a milestone moment for the village.
“So many times I heard, ‘When are we going to get a supermarket?’ ” Hofer said back then.
The village in recent years had attracted two car dealers.
“But,” Hofer said, “we were always striving for a supermarket.”
Since then, Jewel Foods has opened on Route 59, and Target has one of its superstores with a supermarket across the highway from Dominick’s. Not far away is a Wal-Mart superstore in a Joliet section of Route 59.
Likewise in Romeoville, Dominick’s was the first supermarket on newly developing Weber Road when the store opened in 1999.
Now, Mayor John Noak said, “The Jewel is on Weber. The Target’s on Weber. Wal-Mart’s there. An Aldi is there. And we just opened up Sam’s Club.”
Even so, Noak thinks another supermarket will take over the space Dominick’s now has at 135th Street.
“I think our location is probably one of the better locations for a new grocery to pick up,” Noak said.
But when he names the possible successors, he names stores that weren’t even in the market when Dominick’s opened in Romeoville.
Mariano’s, Food 4 Less, Ultra and Tony’s Finer Foods are some possibilities.
The movement of those new stores into areas near locations that Dominick’s pioneered is one reason for the chain’s demise. All the new stores that could replace it are another.
“Dominick’s has been a name that’s been in the area for decades,” Shorewood Mayor Rick Chapman said. “They have a lot of dedicated customers.”
Chapman counts himself as one of them. But obviously there are not enough left to keep Dominick’s going.
But the company in its growth mode picked some prime locations in spots of Will County that had not yet caught the eye of other national retailers. Chapman believes other retailers will want to move in as Dominick’s moves out of Shorewood.
“That’s one of the hottest corners on 59,” the mayor said of the Dominick’s location at Black Road.
Other Dominick’s locations in Will County include 19965 S. LaGrange Road in Frankfort, and 14200 Bell Road in Homer Glen.
The Homer Glen location already has been acquired by Jewel.
Joliet Mayor Thomas Giarrante, who brought Tony’s Finer Foods to Route 59 to replace another supermarket that closed in 2012, said he has talked with supermarket people interested in the Dominick’s store.
“They think it’s an attractive spot,” Giarrante said, noting the Dominick’s store is well placed not far from Louis Joliet Mall. “A lot of people go up Essington Road to get to the mall.”