Last Call For Many Chicago-Area Dominick’s Stores

Get your Dominick's fix while you can.

Many of the grocery chain's 72 stores will close their doors for good on Saturday, leaving an estimated 6,000 workers without a job.

Dominick's parent company announced in October it would leave the Chicago market by the end of the year after poor performance from area stores.

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.

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."

Eric Bailey, spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, is especially frustrated with the response from the parent company, Safeway. Bailey blames "their corporate greed" and says there has been little help from Safeway in terms of job outreach for the workers.

Bailey said there is reason for Dominick's workers to worry, noting that Mariano's has so far offered "not one job" to an existing Dominick's worker.

"We really owe the workers," said neighbor Pat Maunsell who wants to make sure those working the day and evening shift realize they will be missed.  

"The employees here are part of our daily lives," Evanston Alderman Jane Grove said. "How often are you here? How often am I here? My family calls it the cupboard."

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