Dominick's closure to have limited local impact? : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Dominick's closure to have limited local impact?|
|Oswego officials expect food shoppers to patronize other local grocers|
|by John Etheredge|
Village of Oswego officials are hopeful the pending closure of the local Dominick's Finer Foods store early next year will not have a significant impact on the village's sales tax revenues.
Steve Jones, village administrator, said he expects most area shoppers who purchase their groceries along the Route 34 corridor in the village will continue to do so at one of the other nearby food stores.
"Why would they go somewhere else? Route 34 is where all the retail action is for groceries," Jones said.
In addition to Dominick's, Jones noted food shoppers can also purchase groceries at Meijer, Wal-Mart, Aldi and Target on Route 34. In addition, a Jewel is located about one mile north of Route 34 on U.S. Route 30 at Douglas Road.
"The key is people aren't going to travel a greater distance to go to another retailer. They are going to continue to shop along the Route 34 corridor," Jones said, adding, "So we don't think from a perspective of our sales tax that it will have much of an affect. It may have some-but it won't be much of an affect."
Safeway, Inc., the owner of Dominick's, announced last Thursday it is withdrawing from the Chicago market and will close all of its 72 Chicago area stores early next year.
Jones acknowledged the larger challenge facing the village and RPAI (Retail Properties of America, Inc.), owners of the Oswego Commons shopping center where the Dominick's is located, will be to find a new tenant for the 65,000 square foot space that Dominick's now occupies in the center.
In addition, Jones said village officials are concerned the current employees of the local Dominick's will be able to find new positions. Vijay Gadde, the village's economic development director, said the store currently has 56 employees, the majority of which are part-time.
Jones estimated the village currently receives between $150,000 and $175,000 annually in sales tax revenues from the Dominick's. However, he emphasized that figure is just an estimate. The Illinois Department of Revenue does not release sales tax information on individual stores. Sales taxes generated in local retail stores are a primary source of operating revenue for the village.
Jones said village officials have been working "all along" to attract new retailers to the village. He noted that consumer preference studies have found village residents currently leave the village to shop for items such as furniture, specialty foods and clothing.
To address that need, Jones said village staff has previously contacted retailers such as Trader Joe's and Mariano's Finer Foods and encouraged them to locate stores in the village.
"People at Trader Joe's and Mariano's have said (previously) that it's just not right for them in Oswego, but what we're doing now is circling back to those folks and saying, 'How about now since we'll have a big open space?" Jones said.
He added the pending Dominick's vacancy "may change the dynamic" in how retailers evaluate the Oswego market.
"If there were some retailers who were looking at our area and decided the market is not quite here yet because they would have to build a building, well now they have a turn-key operation (in the former Dominick's store)," he said.
Gadde said he has also contacted officials with Art Van furniture, a retailer based in Michigan.
"They are expanding into Illinois and they want to grab 10 percent of the furniture market in the Chicago area," Gadde said.
Gadde said he had conversations with Art Van officials prior to last week's announcement that the local Dominick's store will close.
Gadde described an Art Van store as a "mid-term" target to attract to the village, while a Mariano's Finer Food store would be a longer term target.
In addition, Gadde said he will be contacting Target to see if store officials have any interest in expanding their store next to the Dominick's into the supermarket's current space.
Jones noted that some Chicago-based trade journals have reported that Kroger is interested in some of the existing Dominick's store sites.
"We are reaching out to all of the retailers," Jones said.
Both Jones and Gadde expressed optimism a new tenant or group of tenants can be found for the Dominick's space.
"It's a great location and we're going to collaborate with the (shopping center) ownership," Gadde said, adding, "Like Steve (Jones) says, it would be a turn-key operation for any retailers looking to get into a 65,000 square foot building at a good location and with good traffic."
tenure began in '84
The closure of the local Dominick's store will mark the end of an era in the Oswego-Montgomery area.
Dominick's first opened a local store in Montgomery in 1984 in the then new Settlers Landing shopping center at the northeast corner of Route 30 and Douglas Road. The Dominick's and Kmart store anchored Settlers Landing.
But in March 2002 Dominick's moved its store from Montgomery to the new Oswego Commons shopping center at Route 34 and Douglas Road.
Dominick's move from Montgomery to Oswego resulted in a significant loss in sales tax revenues for Montgomery. In June 2002, Montgomery officials reported a 19 percent decrease in sales tax revenues for the month of March 2002, while Oswego officials reported a 31 percent increase in sales tax revenue. Montgomery officials attributed the loss of revenue to the departure of the Dominick's.
In a related matter, Jones said village officials are continuing their effort to secure a tenant or multiple tenants for the former Lowe's store in the Prairie Market shopping center on Route 34, just east of Douglas Road. The store has been vacant since late 2011.