Safeway Inc., which owns two Dominick’s supermarkets in Evanston, announced today that it plans to exit the Chicago market by early next year.

No detail on the impact of the decision on the Evanston stores was immediately available. Domick’s operates 72 stores in the Chicago area.

Safeway President and CEO Robert Edwards in a conference call with analysts this afternoon said Safeway has received “significant interest” in the Dominick’s stores and is working with a number of different potential purchasers.

“We hope to sell all or as many of the stores as we can as quickly as we can,” Edward said.

Safeway today reported that Dominick’s lost $13.7 million in the third quarter and $35.2 million for the first 36 weeks of the year.

In a conference call this afternoon, Edwards said exiting Chicago would allow the company to increase its profits in its remaining markets. Chicago, he said, was the company’s lowest performing division.

He said that compared to its other markets, Chicago was quite fragmented with a number of established competitors and new companies coming into the market.

“We believe reallocating our resources to our core assets is in the best interest of our shareholders,” Edwards added.

Top: The Dominick’s store at Evanston Plaza, at Dempster Street and Dodge Avenue.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


    1. Let’s Disco!

      What a great chance for a bowling alley or a roller rink!  Either or both would be HUGE money machines.  And there is plenty of parking!

      1. Excellent Idea

        I also think a roller rink or bowling alley at that location would be a great idea. I would love to have either at that location. I could take my family to Paninos for dinner then head over to go bowling or skating. I really hope someone seriously considers doing this.

      2. What year is it?

        Bowling alley? A roller rink? You are aware that it's 2013 aren't you? How about a Woolworth's, Just Pants, Service Merchandise, or even Zayre? 

        1. Fun never goes out of style!

          Be it 1953, 1973 or 2013, roller skating and bowling (especially with the disco music as backdrop) are two of the best entertainment venues for both the young and old alike!  I wish there was one of each nearby that I could direct you to (but I would have to caution you not to bring your children because they will be begging you to bring them back again).

        2. Bowling is still popular business in 2013

          Don't know about roller rinks but bowling centers still pull in lots of business in 2013. Think birthday parties of all ages and other get togethers. It's also a popular bad weather option for something to do — weather that's rainy, too cold or way too hot to enjoy the outdoors.  Rather than leaving town for bowling in Wilmette or Niles, many parties, other get togethers and just one-off afternoons or nights out bowling could stay right here.   Day time leagues for seniors are also popular in many locations. 

          Most bowling centers have arcades, extensive food and alcohol offerings (some with their own sit-down bars and separate dining seating), black lights, big screen TVs, high tech sound systems for automatic scoring and music with at least 18 lanes. It's not your grandpa's six lane deal with manual pin setters and paper and pencil for scoring. Never had a kid turn down the option to go bowling because with the bowling, food, arcade, etc., it's  a fun time out. 

          Evanston residents have been encouraging City officials to work with bowling center operators to see if we could get a bowling center here. The answer has always been: no place is big enough for today's bowling centers and not enough parking. Well, an empty Dominick's at Dempster/Dodge is big enough and there's plenty of parking. 

      3. A great place for the (new)

        A great place for the (new) Robert Crown Center to move to!    PLENTY of room, parking, walkable food places, etc……

    2. Where do I sign up?

      Ugh. Every time there's talk about this center, someone brings up a cultural arts center or a performing arts center. It's a terrible idea.  Restaurants? There's a McDonald's, a Dunkin Donuts, a Burger King and a small Italian place that can't seat more than a few people (no knock on them, but they're primarily a delivery place). Oh, and two storefront carryout places. You have a track record of failure from business big and small, and you have a reputation (not undeserved) as an unsafe nighborhood.

      Gee, where do I sign up?

      1. Italian Place

        That Italian place is Panino's. It is one of the best Italian places in Evanston. It has great pizza and many other Italian dishes. I believe that 80 – 90 percent is carry-out or delivery and I believe it to be very profitable. They use to be on central and were very popular in that location. 

  1. Quitters!

    Safeway, you'll never eat lunch in this town again! (Unless, of course, you make it yourself.)

    1. Too late

      Obviously you have not been paying attention, because Mariano's announced quite a while back they were opening a new store in Skokie and, i believe, it is already under construction.

      Since we already have Trader Joe's, Jewel and two Whole Foods, Aldis, Food4Less, I doubt any other large chain will now come here.

      Dempster Dodge may become a food wasteleand, other than a few fast-food places. 

      TIF or not we may not see any large anchor at Dempster-Dodge and one wonders how long that center lasts



      1. Replacement stores ?

        Dempster/Dodge store had coffin nails in it anyway.  However this does solve the problem of wondering if that store would  block other stores from coming or someday pull out—after others made their decisions.  Now they have a new canvas to work on.

        Dominicks on Greenbay might get a buyer—I don't know the size or location of candidates. I hope there are some.  Except for three items that I bought at Jewel, everything else was from Dominicks.

        Remember when Jewel  on Greenbay one block from Dominicks closed, Jewel built a new store 3-4 blocks away and closed the Ridge[Wilmette]/Lake store where they would have had a monopoly.  Like Subway on purpose moving next to McDonalds [of course no McDonalds in Evanston to move next to], someone may want the Dominicks spot.

        But recall the Dominicks on Chicago Ave. was torn down and one 'stated reason' was its condition.  The one on Greenbay was constructed a few years later.  They don't seem to build for the long term


    2. Whole Foods to Greenbay store ?

      Would make more sense than keeping the Chicago Ave./Greenleaf store.

      North Evanston/Wilmette residents tend to have the money for Whole Foods line.

      1. Why?


        That Whole Foods, and the Wild Oats/People's Market before it, have done just fine in that location. Perhaps you've never toured the neighborhoods surrounding that Whole Foods. You'll find, and meet, plenty of people in the neighborhoods who "tend to have the money for Whole Foods line." 

        It may be a revelatory concept, but I know people who moved to these very neighborhoods because of their proximity to the groceries.

        And mass transit.

        And good schools.

        In an area considered South Evanston! 

        What a concept!

        1. Not a put down

          The south, esp. Chicago Ave to the lake have well off people but they and anyone on the south side have Trader Joes, Jewel and are not that far from Whole Foods on Church street.

          On the north there will be only DD Food and Jewel in Wilmette.

  2. Dominicks

    The question will be what of all the hundreds or more employees, including those with disabilities, which Safeway/Dominicks has been known to for hiring? Are they going to help every single person who has been there from 1-30+ years find a job? I know many managers/employees, especially at the Green Bay in Evanston, who genuinly care for their customers, one in particular who even babysat for me. If this becomes all of Illinois? Where will they go? 

  3. so much for those increases taxes from the grocery business

    All those political predictions of increased tax revenue as justifications of giving tax money to Trader Joe's.   Closing down another grocery story went much faster than even I could have anticipated.    One grocery store in, one grocery store out. The tax payer loses, Trader Joe's owner wins as they sell out the land.   Wake up city council, if banks won't give loans to businesses, you shouldn't either.

  4. To Bad

    Dominick's had the best prices in Evanston. This will give the other food stores the incentive to raise prices. I don't think that TJ made a major impact on Dominick's. TJ's primary sales are in wine.

  5. Think big, Evanston

    Instead of these piecework deals, Evanston should think big. Much bigger than buying a "theater" building on Howard Street and investing in cocktail bars. Let's get together with a serious commercial developer, maybe Northwestern adn whoever else wants to play in Evanston and do something with large significance. Look at the reinvigorated downtown and that success.

    1. You have to be kidding !

      " Look at the reinvigorated downtown and that success."


      The Century theater was a success—surprising most people.

      But the rest of downtown is dead after dark.  Business people eat at places during the day and then go home.  That leaves NU/ETHS with B-K nights.  I found residents within two blocks of downtown did not even know those lights the city put on the sidewalks were lights—assume they were fancy bike racks.  Few people more than the two blocks venture downtown after working hours.

      1. Think again

        Been downtown much lately? I think your comments would have been right-on 5 ot 10 years ago.

        I live at Church and Oak, and wander around downtown frequently at night. It is hopping with activity. Many things are open until 10 or 11, midnight weekends. Even very late at night, we have options like JTs and Clarke's (sometimes), and Cheesey's Pub, and Bat 17, and Kaffeine for the kiddies, open until 2am or later even weeknights. 

        Pete Miller's has jazz 7 nights a week with no cover, and the Celtic Knot frequently has live music and storytelling, and is often busy. The late night used bookstore continues to thrive, and there are lines for Andy's custard even in cool weather. We've seen the Space gain in popularity, and 27live has finally opened for real. Found Kitchen and Farmhouse are genuine hot spots, busy even on weeknights. . . World of Beer is busy. A new brewhouse/gastrobub is coming soon where Oak St. Market once was. Something trendy is replacing the Keg soon. Over on Foster, JJ Java is offering an indie coffeehouse experience, complete with books and chess boards and open mics.

        And all the crappy chains by the movies stay busy too. New spots like JTs and Soulwich are revitalizing that long-dead area between the library and Fountain Sq., where we'll soon see the fashionable new La Machina, and new Israeli place Naf Naf, and the new Lao Szechuan. A Persian falafel joint is opening soon too, where Starbuck's was on Sherman. I think downtown Evanston storefronts must be 80% occupied or more.

        To put things in perspective, I remember penny parking meters, and actual tobaggons at James Park. I mourned the loss of Wieboldt's, and Walgreen's cafeteria (remember that?) and Woolworth's lunch counter. And Dr. Jazz or Peacock's ice cream! And I ate 100 times at Dave's and Pine Yard before they moved. . .  I have been in Evanston almost 45 years. I love how Evanston once was, and I am circumspect about rampant development. But really, it used to be boring and dry. Now it is happening. Mostly I see youngsters running around, I am a bit older. . . maybe you're sitting at home?

        Trust me, it's never been better.

        1. Space is not in downtown

          Everything you say is correct, except placing Space in downtown.  It is not in the Downtown District

      2. But the rest of downtown is dead after dark.

        "But the rest of downtown is dead after dark."

        Really, downtown is dead after dark?   How do you even respond to that?

  6. Think bigger

    Rip out that entire stripmall and insert a Walmart Supercenter. Or a casino (with a bowling alley and a roller rink).     

    1. Agreed. Also, top it off with

      Agreed. Also, top it off with a strip club and drive-thru liquor store.

      1. And don’t forget…

        How about a couple of store front churches, a nail salon and a beauty supply store. Oh, and don't forget a barbershop or two.

  7. Dominick’s

    I love the Dominick's at Dodge and Dempster:  Nice staff, good produce, unpretentious foks, good parking.  

  8. Dominicks maybe leaving?

    We have been shopping at Dominicks for years, since it moved from Chicago Ave years ago. In many ways Dominicks has not kept up with the times with current grocery stores. As a recent article succinctly put it, going to Dominicks was like stepping back in time. 

    However, it's been our staple for shopping for our family. I want to send a shout out and encouragement to the staff of our Evanston Dominicks. Most are friendly and helpful. They feel like old friends and I will wish them well with whatever changes are ahead.

  9. Dempster/Dodge mall

    The City doesn't own the Dempster/Dodge mall. I believe the current owners already answered the Bowling Alley comments months ago. You need Businesses to draw people to a mall. You also need for the residents to shop at the businesses that open in a mall. No business, the stores close. Mall becomes vacant. 

    1. A bowling alley doesn’t need a mall to be successful

      Re: Dempster/Dodge mall. A bowling alley at that location would make a good anchor for the dempster/dodge plaza.. Brunswick zones are normally free standing locations that don't require other businesses surrounding it to make it successful. When individuals, families, and friends go to a bowling alley they are normally going intentionally and directly to go bowling, attend bowling leagues, have a birthday party for their children, or just to have a good time with friends. Thus if a bowling alley were to open in the Dominicks space the current businesses in the plaza would be irrelevant to its success. If I had the money I would definitely open a bowling alley at that location. There are plenty of people who would enjoy this type of family entertainment in Evanston.

  10. Domincks downhill after Safeway purchase

    Dominicks really used to be "Finer Foods." 

    After Safeway bought it, Dominicks began lowering its produce standards–the employees knew it, too.  Since much of my grocery dollar goes to fresh vegetables I began going elsewhere for produce.  I went to Dominicks less and less as I found alternatives with bettter produce.  

    Now, I bet I spend bout $15-20 at Dominicks when I go there.  Used to spend  $125-150.

    Safeway only has itself to blame.

  11. Dominick’s

    Dominick's on Dodge and Dempster is my favorite grocery store as well as being the anchor for that shopping center. It is big enough without being too big.  You can see all the way down the aisle. After making the rounds of Whole Foods (Whole Paycheck), the new Trader Joes and Jewel a week or so ago, I decided to stick with  Dominick's. They are selling in larger quantities, prices are good and the produce is fresh. I see people from all over Evanston shopping there and I love being able to have plenty of parking and not fighting the Chicago Ave. traffic!

  12. Dominicks

    Hey, the Dempster/Dodge Dominick's is not gone…yet. I like that store a whole lot. Both customers and staff there are nice, and the staff service over the years and through lots of management change is appreciated.

    It's heartening to see the level of interest and the number of ideas for re-developing that area in case Dominick's does leave. Let's hope we have as many developers with ideas as we have anonomytes in this thread, and we manage to get something that enhances the area and brings in revenue for the city.  (NU: Don't get any ideas, and have you heard how nice it is in Naperville? 🙂 )

    I was thinking about writing to the owners of Marketplace on Oakton, and asking them to consider moving to Evanston. They are my absolute favorite produce/ethnic food market, and they would fill a food niche not currently filled in Evanston. We have expensive organic food (Whole Foods x2), snack/specialty/prepared food and cheap wine (Trader Joe's), discount grocery (Aldi and Food for Less), and Jewel is hanging in there, but we do not have a place to buy cheap fruits and veggies and ethnic groceries.



Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *