Dozens of Dominick's stores in the Chicago area closed Saturday, leaving thousands of employees out of work and many more shoppers missing their preferred supermarkets.
Dominick's parent company Safeway Inc. said in October it would stop operating 72 Dominick's stores in the Chicago area by the end of the year.
Mariano's Fresh Market agreed to purchase 11 of the Dominick's stores marked for closure, and Whole Foods and Jewel emerged as potential buyers for some of the other locations. Centralia Foods said it's interested in 10.
Jewel-Osco announced a new promotion earlier this month offering 10-percent discounts to shoppers who turn in their Dominick's Fresh Value cards.
Still, customers are finding it very hard to say goodbye to their neighborhood stores.
At a community event last week, residents gathered to thank the workers with cards, cookies and hugs.
"I want to cry," one woman said. "I had breast cancer in 2006 and they were so kind to me."
Dominick’s employee Angela Porreca- Giacchetti, who has worked for Dominick’s for 29 years and was serving her last day as a floral manager at a Willowbrook location Saturday, said the closings are devastating.
“It’s very, very heart-wrenching,” she said. “I started with Dominick’s when I was 16 years old. We didn't deserve this."