As a Menards home-improvement store heads into its final weeks on Mundelein's south side, village officials on Friday confirmed that plans for a new one elsewhere in town have fallen through.
"It's very unfortunate," Trustee Ray Semple told the Daily Herald. "Trust me, we don't want to lose Menards."
The Oak Creek Plaza store's closing shouldn't surprise anyone. Village officials announced in October 2012 that the outlet would shut down to make room for a Super Walmart in the shopping center, which is on Route 60 east of Route 45.
Menards has operated there for 20 years.
The store will be demolished to make room for the supersized retailer, as will some other storefronts in the shopping center.
But that wasn't supposed to happen, officials said last year, until Menards completed plans to relocate to a different site in the village.
At the time, the Wisconsin-based chain was eyeing land on Route 60 north of Route 176.
Semple blamed a "corporate decision" for the change in direction.
A Menard Inc. spokesman didn't respond to an interview request.
The company had wanted to leave the struggling Oak Creek Plaza for years, but the plan always had been to relocate in Mundelein.
A new Menards first was proposed for Mundelein's northwest side nearly a decade ago in what was to be called the Town Center plaza.
That project was opposed by nearby residents and became tied up in court. Eventually the project died.
Village Administrator John Lobaito said he hasn't given up on Menards.
"We're still in communication with Menards and we hope we can find a way to change their minds and keep them in town," Lobaito said.
An employee at the Oak Creek Plaza store said it will close after Oct. 18. A local 15-percent off sale started Friday, the employee said.
Although sad to be losing Menards, Semple found a silver lining in the situation.
"The sooner Menards vacates, the sooner Walmart can get started," he said.