Glen Ellyn's McChesney & Miller set to close Saturday

Updated 10/2/2014 5:07 AM
  • The McChesney & Miller grocery store at 460 Crescent Blvd. in Glen Ellyn, was established in 1862. The store will close its doors for the last time on Saturday.

      The McChesney & Miller grocery store at 460 Crescent Blvd. in Glen Ellyn, was established in 1862. The store will close its doors for the last time on Saturday. Safiya Merchant | Staff Photographer

Shoppers will say their final goodbyes to a Glen Ellyn landmark Saturday when the McChesney & Miller grocery store closes its doors for the last time.

Said to be one of the oldest retail businesses in DuPage County, the store, near the intersection of Crescent Boulevard and Prospect Avenue, will be shuttered after more than 150 years serving the community.

Plans already are in the works to redevelop the site.

The business was established in 1862 by Joseph R. McChesney, according to the book "Glen Ellyn: A Village Remembered."

McChesney also was Glen Ellyn's first village president when the town went by a different name.

During the 1900s, Oscar Miller became part owner of the business, and he later bought out the McChesney interest in the business. The store has moved more than once.

Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mike Formento said the end of McChesney & Miller is "a sad closing for Glen Ellyn."

"It's really very regrettable to see them leave, they are just wonderful, community-spirited people and always have been," Formento said.

The store's closing also means the village will lose the only grocery store in its downtown area.

That means residents wanting to buy basics such as bread and milk will have to go to Roosevelt Road or North Avenue, Formento said.

Village President Alex Demos said he has fond memories of the neighborhood grocery. He said he remembers going to the store as a kid, adding that the biggest draw for his family was McChesney's bone-in sirloin steaks and sirloin burgers.

"That was always our meat market of choice," he said.

Demos echoed Formento's point that the downtown grocery was convenient for customers.

"We have many residents who are not as mobile as others or choose to not be mobile as far as owning vehicles and (McChesney & Miller) was quite a convenience and awesome in their quality and reputation," he said.

A redevelopment plan for the McChesney & Miller site, along with some nearby property, has been presented to the village by Wheaton-based Next Generation Development. The developer wants to create a mixed-use development with apartments and some retail and parking space.

The store's owner, Bill Behrmann, declined to comment on its closing, but other merchants made it clear the store will be missed.

Jenny Fischer, a bookseller at The Bookstore at 475 N. Main St., said McChesney & Miller was the "perfect little grocery store."

"They were so friendly, everybody knew who you were," Fischer said.

Caroline Jacobsen, who co-owns Sign of the Whale Antiques at 558 Crescent Blvd., said in the 43 years she has lived in Illinois, she has always shopped at the grocery store.

"I really am sad because this means that I have to go to a big-box store to get a gallon of milk, which upsets me," Jacobsen said. "It's a big, big loss for the community. Very big."

The store is scheduled to be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, but celebrations are scheduled both before and after the closing.

The chamber of commerce will sponsor an observance at 11:30 a.m. Friday in the store's parking lot to mark its contributions to the community. And the village board plans to make presentations related to the store's long history when it meets at 7 p.m. Oct. 13 at village hall.

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