Realizing I was once again out of milk and in need of some
treats for a piano recital this week, I ran to the grocery store
yesterday. It is the store I have been going to since I was 4. It
is the store I have brought my own children to since they were
babies. It is the store that has provided me flowers for sick
friends, cakes for my kids' birthdays and some of the nicest
grocery store employees in the world.
But it is also the store that is going away.
Dominick's has been an iconic Chicago area name for almost a
hundred years. When my husband and I first moved away from the
downtown area to the south side of the city, I was thrilled to
abandon other options in favor of my time-tested Dominick's. I
loved the warm lighting, the wide aisles, and the deli counter
ladies who gave my boys more free samples of cheese and meat than
they could possibly eat. I loved how I could enter my phone number
at checkout for rewards instead of getting chided by an angry
cashier for forgetting my card (as would happen when I went to
other grocery stores). I loved the memories of eating animal
crackers in the cart while my mom shopped, and I loved the memories
I gave my own children there.
So when I walked into Dominick's yesterday, I felt an unexpected
punch to the gut. Half the aisles were already cleared out. There
was a tangible sadness in the air that was reflected in people's
eyes. This wasn't just a store that was closing. This was a part of
history. Whether the chain was mismanaged or neglected in favor of
big-box stores can be debated another day. For that is not the
issue right now.
The real issue is this is the end of something special.
Something that meant a great deal to many Chicagoans.
One of the former CEOs of Dominick's, Bob Mariano, has purchased
several closing stores that will re-open as Mariano's. Mr. Mariano
was one of the visionaries who created that warm feel that always
left me relaxed and happy, despite having shopped there with two
toddlers and a baby just a few short years ago. I believe that my
being relaxed helped relax my youngsters.
It was magic.
I would like to bid Dominick's farewell and acknowledge its
place in Chicago history.
You were a grand store. And I will not forget you.
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.
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