A grocery store on Center Street in Grayslake has closed after replacing a Piggly Wiggly store that operated for nearly 20 years in the same space.
Farmers market Place owner Vicky Kouantas confirmed the closure to the Daily Herald in a brief interview. She said the store closed Nov. 27.
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Kouantas owns the mall where Farmers market Place had operated since about the middle of this year. She said she intends to find "a big-time player" to fill the grocery void in the plaza at Center Street and Atkinson Road.
"We're trying hard to bring another grocery store to town," Kouantas said Tuesday night.
Grayslake Mayor Rhett Taylor said village government never received an indication from Kouantas there were problems with the store. He said he hopes she can attract a new grocer, because market studies for the village show there is enough consumer support in the area.
Early this year, before Farmers market Place opened, Grayslake village trustees approved a redevelopment incentive of up to $155,000 for Kouantas. Officials said the facade improvement reimbursement was favored over a sales tax-sharing agreement that originally had been sought by the property owner.
Under the deal, Kouantas was required to spend $80,000 on comprehensive renovations for the shopping center's north and west facades to benefit nine businesses to receive a maximum $155,000 from the village.
"She never took advantage of that," Taylor said.
Farmers market Place took over for the independently owned Piggly Wiggly supermarket, which had operated on Grayslake's west side from 1993 to late 2012.
Piggly Wiggly closed in mid-December 2012 because of what owner David Karczewski said were unsuccessful lease negotiations with his landlord -- Kouantas -- not lack of business. He said he could afford only so much rent in Grayslake without jeopardizing his Piggly Wiggly operations in Antioch and Zion.
Known as "The Pig," the store created goodwill in the community for efforts such as the annual Lake County Farm Bureau Race For Hunger to benefit local food pantries, which featured noteworthy local government officials filling shopping carts in an eight-minute competition.
Former Grayslake Piggly Wiggly manager Tim Thrall was known for accompanying the Mr. Pig mascot to read to students at local elementary schools.