Dominick’s closures leave Loyola students in search of other grocers
By Audriana Bruno
Loyola students have been left to shop for their groceries elsewhere after Safeway Inc. announced the closure of the 72-store Dominick’s chain in Chicago last month.
This location was the closest Dominick’s to Loyola’s Lake Shore campus, roughly half a mile away, making it a crucial sell for students. The store is set to open in early 2015, leaving students to deal with the transition in the meantime.
“It’s really irritating,” said Loyola student Abby Bottjen about the Dominick’s closures, “and a lot less convenient than it used to be.” Bottjen, a resident on Loyola’s Lake Shore campus, started shopping at Dominick’s more than a year ago.
“You could get almost everything at Dominick’s,” said Bottjen, who was forced to change her shopping routine after the closures.
The third-year student said to get everything she and her roommates need, it is now necessary to go to multiple stores.
“We make a conscious effort when we go grocery shopping… like today, we made up three different shopping lists,” she said. The lists were for three different grocers in the area: Aldi, Devon Market and Loyola’s Southside Market.
According to DNA Info, Alderman Harry Osterman advised Edgewater residents to shop at “local and independent” stores in the area.
The area surrounding the Lake Shore campus offers a variety of specialty shops and local markets. Local store owner Shaul Basa said he has seen an increase in sales at his store, Devon Market, since the Dominick’s closures. The market is located even closer to Loyola’s Lake Shore campus than Dominick’s.
Basa said he has seen a small rise in the number of students shopping at Devon Market and hopes to see more. He is keeping Loyola students in mind during the transition.
“We see that they like to buy organic and natural products,” he said. “We make sure everything is fresh, otherwise we refuse it.”
And if you don’t see something you need on the shelves of Devon Market, “We’ll listen,” Basa said. Inquiries and suggestions can be made directly to staff e-mails through the market’s website.
Basa hopes this personal approach and open door to students will increase Loyola traffic in his store.
With Whole Foods as the new neighborhood competition, local store owners, like Basa, must contend with their products.
Whole Foods prides itself on its organic and natural products, but price comparisons with other grocers show that this high-quality often comes at a higher price.
For example, a student shopping at Whole Foods can get one avocado for $1.79 or choose organic for $2.49. Devon Market advertises avocados for 69 cents each. Aldi carries Hass avocados for 59 cents each.
Even a non-produce item such as a jar of peanut butter runs at Aldi for $1.69 for an 18 ounce container. Whole Foods, on the other hand can range from Whole Foods store brand peanut butter for $2.69 ($4.99 organic) to upwards of 8 dollars.
Students are trying to get the most out of their money, and take these factors into account when choosing grocery stores. But the Rogers Park and Edgewater communities are not the only Chicago areas dealing with a transition to Whole Foods.
Students who choose to shop at Rogers Park or Edgewater chain grocers rather than local markets can see price comparisons between Whole Foods and Aldi in this article written by DNA Info which outlines a similar situation in Englewood.
Englewood, located on the South Side of Chicago, received news last September of a Whole Foods opening set for 2016, and had similar doubts as Rogers Park and Edgewater residents.
“Those prices are too high,” said Jamillah Brown, a 40-year-old mother of five. “I don’t know how they’re going to make it here.”
Loyola student Jake Bedenian agreed. He lives in the Rogers Park-Edgewater area, which is highly populated with college students.
“We are too poor of a neighborhood to have a Whole Foods,” he said.
Other chain grocer options include Mariano’s and Jewel-Osco. Mariano’s, owned by Roundy’s Inc., confirmed the purchase of the Dominick’s located at 5201 N. Sheridan Rd. near the Berwyn Red Line stop, near Loyola’s Lake Shore campus.
Four Dominick’s stores have been sold to the Jewel-Osco chain.
Bedenian was a frequent shopper at Dominick’s for the past three years, he said, and saw the neighborhood grocer as convenient and familiar. But Bedenian, who is a former employee at Jewel-Osco, is not surprised about the Dominick’s closures.
“Jewel had a little better of a selection,” he said. “That’s why Dominick’s closed first, not Jewel.”