By Robert Channick
4:08 PM CST, February 3, 2014
Whole Foods Market Inc. on Monday confirmed plans to buy 7 Dominick's locations in the city and surrounding suburbs.
The stores, slated to open next year, will expand the natural grocery chain’s reach in Chicago by a third. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We are incredibly excited about this opportunity to quickly and significantly expand our presence in the greater Chicago area,” Michael Bashaw, Whole Foods Market regional president, said in a statement.
The store locations are:
- 1 N. Halsted St. in the West Loop
- 225 E. Grand Ave. in Streeterville
- 959 W. Fullerton Ave. in Lincoln Park
- 6009 N. Broadway Ave. in Edgewater
- 6300 S. Robert Kingery Hwy. in Willowbrook
- 2748 Green Bay Road in Evanston
- 215 S. Route 83 in Elmhurst
The Tribune first reported the news last week, citing sources familiar with the plans. The company expects the locations to remain closed for remodeling this year and reopen as new Whole Foods Market stores in 2015.
The company will provide additional information about its plans for the new stores when it reports its first quarter earnings on Feb. 12.
Founded in 1980, Austin-based Whole Foods has more than 360 stores in North America and the U.K., including 19 in the Chicago area. In addition to the former Dominick’s locations, the natural foods chain is planning to open three more stores: in Englewood and Hyde Park in Chicago, and in north suburban Lake Forest.
With the Dominick’s acquisitions, Whole Foods will have 28 stores in the Chicago area by next year.
The Willowbrook location will supplant an existing Whole Foods store in that suburb.
The acquisition will also add a third location in north suburban Evanston.
“Evanston is a very vibrant community and they can support three stores,” said Allison Phelps, a Whole Foods spokeswoman.
A number of other Dominick’s locations were gobbled up by competitors last week. Joe Caputo & Sons Fruit Market, which owns three grocery stores in the northwest suburbs, announced it has acquired four stores, located in Northbrook, Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, and Elk Grove Village.
Tony's Finer Foods, which has about 10 locations in the Chicago area, announced plans to reopen the former Dominick's location at 5233 Lincoln Ave. in Lincoln Square this spring.
Pete's Fresh Market, which has nine stores in the Chicago area, acquired the former Dominick’s store at 259 Lake Street in Oak Park, with plans to reopen it by the end of the year.
Dominick's parent, California-based Safeway Inc., closed the 72-store grocery chain on Dec. 28, leaving more than 6,000 people out of work. Some former workers found jobs with the stores' new owners.
Milwaukee-based Roundy's Supermarkets, the parent company of Mariano's, acquired 11 Dominick’s stores for $36 million, with plans to begin reopening them in February. Jewel bought four locations, reopening them under its banner in January.
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