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Article updated: 9/13/2013 6:20 PM

Roselle grocery store closing after 56 years

Pik-Kwik Foods in Roselle is closing later this month because the building where the store is located is being sold.

Pik-Kwik Foods in Roselle is closing later this month because the building where the store is located is being sold.

 

Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

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After 56 years in business, the Pik-Kwik Foods in Roselle is set to close by the end of the month.

The owners say they must move the grocery store out of its location at 525 E. Irving Park Road because the building is being sold. There are no plans to reopen the business elsewhere.

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"Traditions sometimes have to stop," owner Rick Bohlman said on Friday.

Bohlman and his wife, Bev, bought the grocery store about 15 years ago. The business had three previous owners since it first opened in 1957.

While some former Pik-Kwik owners owned the building, it wasn't for sale when the Bohmans purchased the business. Several months ago, they learned their landlord was selling.

Roselle Mayor Gayle Smolinski said a shopping center developer is interested in buying the site. "But he has not brought any plans in to us," she said.

If that deal doesn't go through, Smolinski said it's possible neighboring Dick Wickstrom Chevrolet might acquire the land for a possible expansion.

Regardless of what happens, Smolinski said it's "sad" to see Pik-Kwik close.

"It was wonderful to have a grocery store in our downtown," she said, "especially one that has so much history in the village. But the land owner chose to sell the property. And the business owner decided it was time to retire."

Indeed, Bohlman said he's ready to move on.

"I'll be 69 here pretty quick," the South Elgin resident said. "And I've done this 52 years. My kids and my wife say, 'Let it go.'"

Despite the 10- to 12-hour days seven days a week, Bohlman said he loves the grocery business. But the market has become "oversaturated" with stores.

Bohlman says there's at least five large grocery stores within a 3.5 mile radius of Pik-Kwik's existing location.

"When I first bought the store, there was two," he said. "There's too many players. Everybody sells groceries. And every one of them takes a piece of the pie."

Smolinski said village officials reached out to other grocers to see if they would be interested in buying the Pik-Kwik site. Those companies rejected the idea, citing a lack of parking spaces on the property.

"Unfortunately, the parking was not what they needed," she said. "We would have liked to have seen another grocery store there."

Bohlman said Pik-Kwik was convenient for many people who liked the store's size and atmosphere. "We're not a big, big store where it takes people forever to get through it."

Pik-Kwik's last day tentatively is scheduled for Sept. 28. When the closure happens depends on how long it takes for the store to sell its remaining stock.

While customers are disappointed to see the store go, they have been wishing Bohlman and his employees good luck. He said he also takes comfort in the fact that many of his 32 workers already have found new jobs.

"They're good people," he said.

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