Joe Caputo & Sons grocery opens in Elk Grove
As employees handed out free homemade cannolis at the door, Joe Caputo & Sons opened its latest and largest location Friday morning in Elk Grove Village -- a much-anticipated launch after it acquired the former Dominick's nearly two years ago.
Residents have been clamoring for the grocery and fruit market since Caputo announced it planned to fill the 80,000-square-foot space at 980 Elk Grove Town Center, but its opening was delayed at least a year because of ongoing renovation work, including replacement of the old refrigeration system, according to co-owner Nat Caputo.
"The store was left in shambles," Caputo said. "We thought it would be a turn key."
Caputo and village officials cut the ribbon as shoppers descended down the aisles, picked out produce, and ordered olives and homemade salads from the deli.
The store hired 145 full- and part-time employees, including cashiers, and workers in customer service, cafe, bakery, deli, grocery, meat, fish, liquor, flower shop, hot foods, chef and produce departments.
The store's bakery will make homemade cakes and breads for all Caputo's stores, including locations in Des Plaines, Palatine and Algonquin. The store's aisles of dry and packaged goods include an ethnic section featuring Italian, Polish, Lithuanian, Middle Eastern and Asian foods.
Caputo says the family takes pride in its fresh produce -- purchased by his brother, co-owner Vito, who goes to the Chicago International Produce Market before dawn every day. The produce section is 10,000 square feet -- the size of the chain's original store at 959 E. Oakton St. in Des Plaines.
The Elk Grove store encompasses 55,000 square feet, with the remaining 25,000 square feet on the east end used for storage.
The opening comes two weeks after the closure of stores in Arlington Heights and Northbrook -- also former Dominick's locations -- as a result of declining business. The Northbrook store opened in May 2014 and Arlington Heights in June 2014.
"We jumped the gun on the other two. We were big enough to say it's not working," Caputo said.
Plans to relocate the original Des Plaines store down the block to another former Dominick's space at 1555 Lee St. will happen after the Elk Grove store gets up and running, Caputo said. The proposed larger store in Des Plaines is located at The Oaks Shopping Center, which is owned by Caputo.