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DiCianni: 'I'm Proud to Say We've Got a Mariano's Coming to Elmhurst'

Mariano's CEO says the old Ford dealership property will be bustling with shoppers early next year.

The city of Elmhurst has been courting Bob Mariano for two years now, and that courtship has finally resulted in a marriage.

"When I ran for mayor, I talked about trying to recruit destination retailers like a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's or Costco. With this concept, Mariano's, we have found all three in one," said Mayor Pete DiCianni during a press conference Friday to officially announce .

Located at the old Ford dealership at North York and Industrial Drive, the Elmhurst store is one of 20 locations planned for Mariano's, part of the Roundy's chain of supermarkets. Other stores are open on East Benton Place and at Western and Roscoe in Chicago, and in Palatine, Vernon Hills and Arlington Heights.

"We will be pulling (customers) from communities all over DuPage County," DiCianni said. "Bloomingdale, Hinsdale and Oak Brook, probably as far east as Elmwood Park, because this concept is something very unique."

DiCianni said Mariano's has "the finest of grocery items, finest of boutique items, the deli is unique. Being Italian and Irish, I appreciate what they bring to this community."

Mariano's stores have gelato, sushi and coffee bars, a salad bar, natural, organic and gluten-free products, bulk foods, full service bakery with authentic Italian pastries, wood stone-fired pizza, imported and domestic deli meats and cheeses, a floral shop, and local and international beers and wines. The stores also have a pharmacy and health and beauty products.

Bob Mariano told the crowd of Elmhurst officials and press that he was "humbled to stand before you, because I've always seen myself simply as a grocer."

"I assure you that the store we put here will absolutely wow you," Mariano said. "It's going to be a place where you're going to want to come frequently, you're going to want to stay and have a cup of coffee, you're going to want to shop and visit with your neighbors. It will be a warm, responsive, enjoyable place and that's what food shopping is all about."

Mariano said the store will be looking to fill between 400 and 450 jobs. The location, which is the farthest west for the chain, is ideally suited for the company because they've already seen many Elmhurst residents traveling to the Arlington Heights store.

"There is a good base of customers here—discriminating shoppers," he said.

When asked what kind of deal was worked out to bring the retailer to Elmhurst, DiCianni said, "We haven't defined anything yet."

"We're actually going to start that process on Monday," he said. "A committee will be looking at the different needs and the different tools we have available to get them across the finish line."

He said that every community Mariano's has gone into has offered some kind of incentive.

"These are tough times," DiCianni said. "This is when government has to work well with business and get the job done."

Aldermen have been discussing , with the North York Road property sitting in one of them.

"When you're looking to re-do a whole corridor, I think that takes some vision," DiCianni said. "We've got (property values) in this area going down, and we're trying to stop that.

"We're sitting in an old, abandon car dealer. We're not going to let our tax base go down."

The store will be 70,000 to 80,000 square feet, a roughly $12 million investment, Mariano said. The store will break ground sometime this summer, and an opening early in 2013 is planned, he said.

Darlene Heslop March 10, 2012 at 12:02 AM
harwood heights just o.k.'d a deal to borrow 4 million dollars in order to purchase property that the city will turn around and sell to mariano's for $100 in order to have the store. it will take years and years for the city to pay back the loan not to mention see any increase in it's tax base. the harwood heights city council meeting was filled with people who were against this as they didn't want their town to take on such huge debt. it was pretty intense, at least what i watched.
Linda McFarland March 10, 2012 at 12:30 AM
I CANT WAIT!
PJC March 10, 2012 at 04:03 AM
It's about time!! Take a hike Trader Joes and Whole Foods - I'm sick and tired of driving to Hinsdale and LaGrange to shop at decent food stores.
inspired March 10, 2012 at 05:11 AM
Anything goooooood in you life
Darlene Heslop March 10, 2012 at 02:54 PM
i should have prefaced this with i am very interested to see what the incentives are that the mayor is talking about since the TIF district has not been finalized and i hope that it doesn't cost us as much as harwood heights, considering all the debt we still are in over hahn street. does that make you feel better, "inspired"?
Doremus Jessup March 10, 2012 at 02:56 PM
If Mariano's offers a good selection of organic products then Elmurst will capture more sales tax from Hinsdale where I shop for most of my food.Although Jewel's selection of Organic products has expanded I find they charge considerably more than Whole Foods, if Mariano's can compete with Whole Foods then I wont have to drive to Hinsdale, I hope that is the case.
Holly March 10, 2012 at 03:22 PM
I went to the one in Arlington Hgts and it was fantastic! Bananas 39 cents/lb, full produce section with every exotic fruit and veggie available (organic too), big wine and cheese section, fresh squeezed juices, gelato bar, etc. It has a wall of dispensers for spices, nuts etc like Whole Foods has and a big buffet and eating area. To be honest I didn't even make it across the whole store. Next time :)
Bob Santini March 12, 2012 at 03:40 PM
don't count your organic chickens before they're hatched; neither the city manager nor the finance committee knew, or knows, anything about this "deal"; this is a desperate pete promising the moon; and hoping to back door this on the finance committee, and then the full council ... stay tuned elmhurst !
Darlene Heslop March 13, 2012 at 03:35 AM
mr. santini, i asked one of the members of the city council what kind of "deal" the mayor had struck with mariano's and the answer was...nothing yet...there has been no incentive given to mariano's to come here to elmhurst that has been discussed in committee nor in the council as a whole...and any incentive needs to come from the city council, not from the mayor...so you are right...stay tuned... .
honesty March 27, 2012 at 03:31 PM
This sounds like the exact same way Harwood Hts. got into it. The mayor made the deal and eventually told the board in closed meetings so the residents couldn't find out till the last minute. In fact, the way it came out was that I heard a rumor that we were going to contribute $6M dollars. I asked the question at a meeting and the mayor was upset that I had asked the question. Who knows when we would have found out otherwise. We ended up agreeing to pay $4M for a piece of property that we will sell to the developer for $100. And to insult to injury, we are borrowing $2M of it from the developer. Yes, we are borrowing $2M dollars from the developer to help pay for a piece of property which we will sell bakc to the developer for $100. In fact the board approved the contract over two weeks ago but the contract is not final. Watch what happens at your board meeting. The rich get richer.
Celeste Shaw September 06, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Mariano’s is a wonderful grocery store that is so busy but has all the concepts that make people love it. The prices are reasonable and the amenities are just great. I hope Elmhurst works the costs out for the residents so that no one has any regrets and feels this was a good way to bring a state of the art successful grocery to the town for everyone to enjoy! Best of luck to all.

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