Grayslake’s Piggly Wiggly is scheduled to close in November because of what ownership says were failed negotiations for a new building lease.
Piggly Wiggly opened at Center Street and Atkinson Road in 1993. It’s been a part of Grayslake’s community fabric with efforts such as the annual Lake County Farm Bureau Race For Hunger to benefit local food pantries, which has featured noteworthy local government officials filling shopping carts in an eight-minute competition.
Assistant Village Manager Derek Soderholm said inquiries have been received from architects regarding the Piggly Wiggly site. However, he added, no redevelopment plans for the property have been filed with the village.
“We hate to see the Piggly Wiggly go,” Soderholm said.
Piggly Wiggly manager Tim Thrall said Monday the store’s last day will be Nov. 3. He was known for accompanying the Mr. Pig mascot to read to students at local elementary schools.
“We were very community oriented,” Thrall said. “We were involved in a lot of functions that were Grayslake specific.”
About 40 to 50 employees work at the Grayslake store and have been offered opportunities to transfer to Piggly Wiggly markets in Antioch and Zion that are owned by David and Debra Karczewski, provided jobs are available.
“We’re trying to place who we can where we can,” said Karczewski, whose family acquired the Grayslake Piggly Wiggly in 2008.
Karczewski said unsuccessful negotiations with the building landlord — not lack of business — are responsible for the planned Piggly Wiggly closure in Grayslake at 815 Center St. He said he could only afford so much rent in Grayslake without jeopardizing his Antioch and Zion operations.
Soderholm said a representative for the landlord, Vicky Kouantas, confirmed for the village that a disagreement on proposed new lease terms is why the Piggly Wiggly is shutting. Kouantas couldn’t be reached for comment.
Gregory Koeppen, the farm bureau’s executive director and member of the Grayslake Chamber of Commerce board, said family and friends who visit him in the village often remark how they notice the Piggly Wiggly. He said Piggly Wiggly has been more than a grocery store for Grayslake.
“As someone who loves to support small business owners, it’s unfortunate to see the Pig closing after all these years,” Koeppen said. “Unlike many of the larger chain stores, the Pig has always been actively involved in the community, donating money and food to the farm bureau, Grayslake chamber, local food pantries and schools. We will definitely feel a void come November.”
Piggly Wiggly Midwest has corporately owned markets and provides services to franchisees through what’s called a chain-style program.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.