Tony’s Finer Foods eyes second Joliet location
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain firstname.lastname@example.org August 28, 2013 6:56PM
Domenico Gambino, center, co-owner of Tony's Finer Foods grocery store chain, talks Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, with Joliet Mayor Tom Giarrante, left, and Will County Executive Larry Walsh. Gambino says he would like to build a second grocery store on the city's east side. | Cindy Wojdylay Cain~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 30, 2013 7:50AM
JOLIET — Domenico Gambino, co-owner of Tony’s Finer Foods, is so happy with his first store in Joliet he is now scouting a second location in the downtown area.
“I want to be next to (city) hall,” Gambino joked.
But his plan to locate somewhere in or near the downtown area is no joke, he said.
On Wednesday, Gambino told The Herald-News that Mayor Tom Giarrante and Assistant to the Mayor Jim Murphy have been driving him around to look over some possible east side locations.
If an existing building is chosen, the project could take four months, as it did when Tony’s opened a store in January in the former Strack & Van Til building at 2300 Route 59 on the city’s far west side.
But, if a building is torn down to make way for the new grocery store, the project could take 14 months, Gambino said during Wednesday’s ground breaking for Joliet Cold Storage in the Cherry Hill Business Park. Gambino attended the event because he said he stocks seafood from Cold Storage’s parent company, Villa Park-based Supreme Lobster and Seafood Co.
Gambino said he’d prefer to build a new store.
“My goal is to make one store from scratch before I retire,” he said.
No work will begin on a second Joliet location until Gambino and co-owner and nephew Tony Ingraffia pick a location, Gambino said. But he said he’s serious about the project.
“I’m really happy with Joliet, really, really happy with Joliet,” said Gambino, whose grocery store chain includes four stores in Chicago and six in the suburbs.
Giarrante said it was too early to provide more details about exactly where Gambino was looking to locate a new store.
“We can’t let the cat out of the bag,” Giarrante said. “(Property owners) will raise the prices.”
City Manager Tom Thanas said because of parking requirements, the store probably would be on the periphery of the downtown or on the near east side.
With Joliet Junior College building its new downtown campus and a $52 million multimodal transportation center under construction, Giarrante said downtown Joliet is more attractive for additional development. Gambino agrees.
“Maybe we’ll knock some old building down and start from there,” Gambino said.