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Vernon Hills Dominick’s poised to close after long run

Updated: April 11, 2012 8:04AM

VERNON HILLS — After 33 years at the same location, the Dominick’s grocery store here will be closing its doors next month.

Dominick’s officials confirmed the company would be closing the 42,000-square-foot grocery store in the Hawthorn Village Commons shopping center April 3.

Lauri Sanders, director of public affairs for Dominick’s, said the closing of the store in Vernon Hills was a “targeted” closure and not part of a company-wide downsizing.

“The store was not performing as expected,” said Sanders. She declined to discuss more specific reasons for the closure.

Dominick’s currently operates 74 stores throughout the Chicago region, including Lake County stores in Gurnee, Buffalo Grove, Mundelein, Lake Bluff and Lake Zurich.

The Dominick’s store in Vernon Hills opened in 1979 and was the first grocery store in the village. Vernon Hills officials said they were disappointed but not surprised by the store’s closing.

“It’s obviously unfortunate because they have a lot of long-time employees and that’s one of the unfortunate aspects of a business like that closing,” Village Manager Mike Allison said.

About 60 employees worked at the store. Sanders said the company is hoping to transfer as many employees as possible to other Dominick’s stores in the area.

Allison said Vernon Hills officials had talked with Dominick’s officials many times over the years about improving the Vernon Hills store or finding a new location in the village.

“We talked to them a number of times over the years about expanding or improving the existing facility or building a new store somewhere else in town but they never seriously pursued it,” he said.

Ironically, Allison said years ago Dominick’s had considered plans for a new store at the site of what is now the new Mariano’s Fresh Market on Milwaukee Avenue in Vernon Hills. However, those plans never materialized.

Assistant Village Administrator John Kalmar said increased competition from the Mariano’s grocery store which opened last summer in Vernon Hills probably impacted the Dominick’s store somewhat, as well as other shopping options at places like Sam’s Club and Target. However, he does not believe that was the only factor behind the closing.

Kalmar acknowledges the Hawthorn Village Commons shopping center has had some vacancies in recent years. Zanies Comedy Club closed last May after 20 years in the shopping center and there has been some turnover in restaurants in the center.

Kalmar said the village has had conversations with the owners of the shopping center and is confident they will find a new tenant for the Dominick’s space.

“The question is how quickly they will be able to re-fill it,” he said. “I expect to see the Dominick’s space filled (in the near future).”

A representative for Inland Real Estate, which owns the shopping center, could not be reached for comment.

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