Evanston’s third Whole Foods will have big hole to fill in 7th Ward


Annabel Edwards/Daily Senior Staffer

Whole Foods Market will move into the property on Green Bay Road previously occupied by a Dominick’s grocery store. The company has confirmed plans to buy a total of seven former Dominick’s locations in the Chicago area.

Ciara McCarthy, City Editor

When Evanston’s newest Whole Foods Market opens next year, it will have to find a way to replace a longtime 7th Ward staple.

After last week’s announcement that the organic grocer will fill the retail space at 2748 Green Bay Road, formerly occupied by a Dominick’s grocery store, 7th Ward residents expressed relief that future of the space had been settled but mourned the loss of a beloved community center.

“It was the employees who created a warm culture at the store, and that’s part of what people are missing,” Ald. Jane Grover (7th) said. “It just had a different feel to it.”

Since the Green Bay Road branch of Dominick’s closed Dec. 28, Evanston residents have been sorely missing the beloved market. Grover said she frequently speaks with former Dominick’s customers about the “difficult time” they’re having adjusting to shopping at a new grocery store.

(Evanston residents say goodbye to beloved supermarket)

Whole Foods Market, Inc., announced last week it acquired seven leases from Safeway, Inc., for spaces formerly occupied by Dominick’s grocery stores. Safeway, the parent company of Dominick’s, closed all branches of the Chicago-area chain last year. In addition to the new Evanston branch, Whole Foods will open locations in Chicago and other nearby suburbs. The new acquisitions will bring the number of Chicago-area Whole Foods stores to 29 once construction is completed. The new Evanston store is expected to open in 2015 and will be the third Whole Foods in the city. 

“Evanston is an extremely vibrant community and can support the three stores,” said Allison Phelps, a Whole Foods spokeswoman. “It’s not unusual to have a cluster of Whole Foods markets.”

City officials had relatively little input as to what store replaced the Dominick’s. Economic development coordinator Paul Zalmezak said the decision was between the property owner, Safeway and Whole Foods. At a meeting last month, Zalmezak spoke to the city’s lack of input in the decision.

“We’re trying to be sensitive to the ongoing negotiations, which we literally have no control over,” he said at the time. “It’s a Safeway process.”

Phelps said it will take between 12 and 15 months for the new store to open. Whole Foods said in a news release that it will remodel the new stores to reflect the communities they are a part of.

Jacqueline Haimes, a 7th Ward resident and member of the Mayor’s Grocery Store Working Group, said she was pleased that the space was filled so quickly, but that the concentration of the store was “a lot.”

“For some people, Whole Foods is more on the expensive end so it’s not necessarily a place that people can shop every week,” Haimes said.

The working group will continue its efforts to find a replacement for the other former Dominick’s location, 1910 Dempster St. 

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