Shoppers crowd Mariano's for opening day

  • The parking lot overflowed all day for the grand opening of Mariano's Fresh Market in Arlington Heights.

    The parking lot overflowed all day for the grand opening of Mariano's Fresh Market in Arlington Heights. Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

 
 

Curious residents, grocery shoppers and autograph seekers filled the parking lot at Mariano's Fresh Market to overflowing Tuesday, the first day the Arlington Heights store was open.

Part of the problem was that the large tent used for Monday night's private gala was still on the parking lot that usually has 340 spaces, said Don Rosanova, executive vice president of operations for Roundy's Supermarket Inc.

The company arranged to use other parking lots nearby and had security personnel directing traffic.

Elayne Hanert of Palatine had a day off work so she spent it standing in line for an hour to get her husband an autograph from the Blackhawks' Dave Bolland.

People lined up as early as 8 a.m. for Bolland's 2 p.m. appearance, said Vivian King, director of public affairs for Roundy's. Each customer was limited to having one item signed unless they went to the back of the line again. They brought chairs and umbrellas besides the typical jerseys and pennants.

About 30 people lined up at 5:30 a.m. for the 6 a.m. store opening, said King.

Agnes Mastropaolo of Mount Prospect showed up with her husband, Michael, 4-year-old T.J. and 1-year-old Emily "just looking for a new place to get our lunch meats and fresh produce."

Bob Mariano, chairman and chief executive officer of Roundy's, announced Monday night that Roundy's Foundation will give $2,500 and 13,000 pounds of food to the Wheeling Township Food Pantry.