A long-vacant supermarket building on Wauconda's west side could be a great location for an independent grocery store, a village-hired consultant said Tuesday.
A store selling arts-and-crafts supplies, books, electronics or home-improvement stuff also could be a good fit for the former Dominick's Finer Foods at 600 W. Liberty St., Mike Mallon told Wauconda's economic development committee.
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But Mallon's top choice was an independent market.
"There certainly is a (consumer) demand," said Mallon, of Elmhurst-based DKMallon.
Dominick's closed the store, in the Wauconda Crossings shopping center at the southwest corner of routes 12 and 176, in 2004. The chain has since pulled out of the Chicago area.
The 72,385-square-foot building has stood empty since then, and it's been a concern for village officials all that time.
The land is in a special taxing district created last year to raise money for public improvements in that part of town.
There's been little interest in the space from other retailers through the years, in part because Dominick's parent company has a long-term lease for the space that doesn't expire until 2017. The Inland Real Estate Corp. owns the building.
Mallon's firm was hired to analyze the site and the retail market and to come up with suggested tenants for the space, if another retail operation was deemed feasible.
With only one grocery store -- a Jewel Food Store on Route 176 -- in Wauconda now, Mallon said the site presents a good opportunity for a new one.
Trustee John Barbini agreed.
"You can't get a pair of shoes here," Barbini said. "In terms of general merchandise, it's a wasteland. There's nothing close."
An independent store might be more interested than a large chain, Mallon said, because they tend to have non-unionized employees and lower overhead costs. As such, their revenue expectations would be lower than those of a large chain, he said.
And if a store does come in, it could draw additional retailers to the area, Mallon said.
Retailers have a "herd mentality," he said.
It also could boost commercial activity throughout town.
"(It) will have a spillover effect in the rest of Wauconda," Mallon said.
Mallon's firm was paid $15,000 for its analysis. He offered to continue to work on the project, but that would take a board vote.
The committee could discuss the issue again July 24.