When Naperville couple Scott and Pati Drzewiecki got in their car Friday afternoon to shop at their local Dominick’s, located at 1555 N. Aurora Road in Naperville, they wound up getting more than sacks of groceries.
Both said they were totally unaware of the news that Safeway Inc., which operates 72 Dominick’s stores in the Chicago area including three in Naperville, announced on Thursday plans to leave the local market sometime early next year.
“I can’t believe this,” Scott Drzewiecki said. “We’ve shopped at Dominick stores wherever we’ve lived, including Oswego and Aurora. Their prices are lower than anyone else’s. Why would they do this?”
Pati was likewise stunned and said she was already feeling bad for neighbors who work at the local store.
“We have people who live by us that work here, and they’re always telling us about various coupons and letting us know when sales are going to be coming up,” she said. “We also use their grocery card to get discounts on gas. Now we’re going to have to spend more time driving to some other store as well as burning more gas.”
The decision to close stores will affect more than 6,000 employees as well as force shoppers to make plans to shop somewhere else. Comments from those visiting the North Aurora Road store Friday ranged from regret about severing relationships with employees to saying that the closing of the store was another “sign of the times.”
“I’m not really surprised that the store here is closing as the whole strip mall here isn’t doing well,” said Vicki Osredkar of Naperville, who said she moved to Naperville from the West Coast a year ago. “The whole mall here is half empty and I see this as a sign of the times. I didn’t know about the closing until I got here today. I talked with some of the employees inside and they said they knew nothing about it.”
Employees inside the store would not comment, but Uldine Baker of Mt. Morris, who was visiting her daughter in Naperville Friday, said the closing of the store was a shame.
“It’s a nice store and I hate to see it not be here,” she said. “I feel people develop relationships with their grocer, whether it’s the butcher or the produce man and they get used to seeing you around. That’s the way it is where I live.”
Rachel Hume of Naperville said she often stops by the North Aurora Road store as it is on her way to other things. She said that now she’ll have to find another place.
“This store was close to other places where I travel, and now I’ll have to find someplace else,” she said.
“I’ve shopped her now for about six years and it’s going to be strange not to have this here.”
Safeway said it plans to use cash tax benefits and other cash proceeds from the disposal of their property to buy back some of its stock and invest in other growth opportunities. On Thursday, New Albertsons Inc., which operates the Jewel-Osco grocery stores, announced plans to buy four of the existing Dominick’s stores including two in Chicago at 1340 S. Canal and 2550 N. Clybourn. The other stores are in Homer Glen and Glenview.