Troubled days for Hoffman Estates shopping center
The closing of a Dominick's store in late January will leave a big hole not only for loyal customers but also in the Hoffman Village Shopping Center at Barrington and Golf roads, where many of the store units already are vacant.
Gary Skoog, director of economic development for Hoffman Estates, said the village has known for the last month or so that the Dominick's might leave and recently began "making some contingency plans."
"There's not that many tenants out there that take up 70,000 square feet," he said. "For the health of the (shopping) center, the first priority is going to be to get a grocer in there."
The village also will consider other businesses that will generate sales taxes, such as a large clothing store, to fill the space, Skoog said.
When Dominick's leaves, about 67 percent of the more than 158,000-square-foot shopping center will be vacant. Only 12 of the center's 30 units will be filled.
"The center has struggled as of late," Skoog admitted. "We've got some challenges ahead, there's no doubt about it."
Will Berry is a shift manager at The Putting Edge, a glow-in-the-dark mini-golf business that has been located in the shopping mall for around 10 years. While he wasn't aware of Dominick's upcoming departure, he said businesses have been leaving the mall for the past few years.
"When I first started here, the shopping mall was completely built up," he said. "Since 2008 a lot of the businesses that were here either moved or just couldn't survive anymore. The economy definitely ruined it."
He said families that shop at Dominick's have decided to visit his business after seeing it in the same shopping center.
"I think it will impact our business, but I don't believe it will have a big impact. It will definitely slow down business a little bit," he said.
But Berry is staying optimistic, despite the fact that The Putting Edge will now be the center's largest business, at a little more than 11,000 square feet.
"I'm not worried about it just because they had just remodeled the whole shopping complex," he said. "The landlord is trying to bring businesses in. I believe that the shopping mall will still thrive."
Douglas K. Kaska Jr., who is part of the agent support staff at a State Farm office located in the shopping center, expressed more concern about Dominick's departure.
"I think it was probably the main draw to the strip mall," he said. "Without Dominick's being here I question why some of the other businesses would stay."
Kaska wouldn't answer whether the agency will be moving from the shopping center, where it's been for about 10 years.
"We do have some customers that do go to Dominick's," he said. "I think it will impact all the businesses."
Skoog believes once the mall gets an anchor to replace Dominick's, smaller businesses such as cleaners, phone stores, salons and small restaurants will start to move in.
"The anchor's got to drive the traffic," he said.
Company officials say the store's closure is a result of poor performance.
Skoog said having competitors such as Jewel, Sam's Club and Target located within a few miles of the shopping center probably also factored into the decision.
"There's a lot of positives," he said of the center. "There's good traffic along Barrington Road, there's good traffic along Golf Road … It's got potential."
Dominick's, owned by Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway Inc., is working to transfer the store's 26 full-time and 32 part-time workers to other nearby locations, said company spokeswoman Lauri Sanders. She declined to say if severance packages will be offered to workers who don't transfer.
Business will continue as usual at the Hoffman Estates grocery store until it closes. No liquidation sales will be offered.
The shopping center is not the only one in the village without an anchor tenant. Barrington Square Mall, located on Higgins Road near Barrington Road, is still struggling to gain new business after its anchor store, Menards, left in 2008.
• Staff writer Anna Kukec contributed to this report.