Tony’s Fresh Market will become the third major retailer to close its doors in North Riverside this year when the grocery store moves its operations about a half mile away to the Cermak Plaza in Berwyn on Nov. 28.
Store manager Alfredo Episcopo confirmed in a telephone interview that the North Riverside store at 7401 25th St. will shut its doors for good at 10 p.m. on Nov. 27. The store will reopen for business the next day with some fanfare at 10 a.m. at 7111 Cermak Road in Berwyn.
Judy Saraceno-Swenson, program assistant for chamber services at the Berwyn Development Corporation, said in a telephone interview that Berwyn Mayor Robert Lovero and other city officials will preside over a ribbon-cutting ceremony to welcome Tony’s, which is headquartered in Itasca and has 16 locations in Chicago and its suburbs.
The public is welcome to attend the ribbon-cutting and then enter the store, which will be fully open for business on Nov. 28.
Tony’s will occupy about 71,500 square feet of commercial space at the Cermak Plaza that formerly housed Meijer from 2012-17. The move increases Tony’s local footprint by about 25 percent.
The store’s departure from North Riverside is a blow to a village that relies so heavily on sales tax revenues to fund operations. In addition to the lost revenue with Tony’s leaving, North Riverside also saw Toys R Us and Carson Pirie Scott close its doors earlier this year.
Sears, which already has downsized its footprint at the North Riverside Park Mall, is also on shaky ground. The company sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October and is in the process of trying to save the company as a going concern.
On March 13, the Berwyn City Council voted to approve reimbursing Tony’s roughly $5.2 million in sales taxes over 25 years. In addition, the city waived building permit and other fees related to buildout of the space in the Cermak Plaza.
Prior to the grocery store chain taking Berwyn’s offer, the company had been in talks with North Riverside officials about a package of incentives to expand the 25th Street location, which was built in the 1970s to house Dominick’s.
Earlier this year, North Riverside Mayor Hubert Hermanek Jr. said the village had agreed to incentives worth about $2.5 million over 10 years.
Moving to Cermak Plaza was also attractive to Tony’s because other grocery store chains had been inquiring about the former Meijer site, and taking over that space would eliminate a competitor in a crowded market.
Within a mile of Tony’s, there are a trio of competitors, including Jewel, Aldi and Costco.
And it’s unlikely that another grocery store will replace Tony’s at the North Riverside location. The grocery chain’s parent company owns the entire North Riverside Park Plaza shopping center, which it bought in 2007 for $21.75 million.
Tony’s opened in the former Dominick’s space at the west end of the shopping center in 2008.