'More than a grocery store': Island Foods closing after 50 years in Island Lake
A family-owned grocery store that has served Island Lake and nearby communities for generations is closing for good.
Island Foods, 223 E. State Road, will shut its doors at the end of August after 50 years in business, owners Denise Turner and Michelle Crisci recently announced on Facebook.
"We want to thank the community and our customers for their support over the past 50 years and wish everyone all the best," Turner and Crisci wrote.
The store and neighboring properties are in the process of being sold. Island Lake officials have been communicating with the prospective buyer about bringing a new grocery store to town, Mayor Richard McLaughlin said, but they've had no luck so far.
"We hate to see Island Foods leave," he said. "Our residents need a grocery store."
Turner and Crisci's father, Fred Martucci Sr., and his three brothers founded Island Foods in 1972 next to the current operation. It relocated in 1976.
Through the years, the family worked to provide "a great selection, convenience and a truly local shopping experience to the community," Turner and Crisci said in their message.
The sisters noted how Island Foods employed thousands of local residents through the years.
"For many it was an important first job," they said. "For others we provided a flexible schedule for working parents. And for everyone, it was an opportunity to serve a community."
As of Tuesday morning, more than 400 people had commented on the sisters' Facebook post, and hundreds more had shared the message to the community.
Among the people sharing their memories of Island Foods was Island Lake resident Carrie Hodgdon, who said she was sad to see the store go.
"Island Foods was more than a grocery store, it was a place to be greeted by friendly faces who I grew to know over the last 24 years," Hodgdon wrote. "It was a place where you would undoubtedly run into an old friend or neighbor and find yourself catching up in the produce aisle. It was a place of family."
Another local resident, Tyfani Longmeyer, noted that her father worked at the store when it first opened, and then she did years later.
"Now (I) shop here with my own children," she wrote. "I've made many friends through Island Foods, people I still keep in contact with today. I will miss shopping at your store and will miss the friendly faces and smiles."
An exact closing date hasn't yet been announced.