The Lake Zurich area, particularly the Rte. 12 corridor seems to be somewhat of a mecca for grocery stores. Between Lake Zurich and Kildeer, the area currently has five stand-alone grocers—Fresh Market, Jewel-Osco, Dominick’s Finer Foods, Aldi's, and Trader Joes.
There are two more on the way—Whole Foods and Mariano’s Fresh Market—as well as talk of a third--Woodmans. That’s not even counting retailers that offer large grocery sections, like Walmart, Target and Costco. Lake Zurich also has Ania's Polish Deli which is much more than a deli, actually a specialty European market.
That totals to about a dozen different places to buy groceries in the Lake Zurich-Kildeer area.
“Everybody has to eat,” said Michael Talbett, Kildeer village manager. “This area is fortunate to have a lot of people and a lot of people with some disposable income. It’s an attractive area not only for grocery stores, but for other retail stores as well.”
“Once you have a couple of successes, it tends to breed success,” Talbett said.
In the Lake Zurich area, residents have many options, from discount grocers to traditional grocers, to gourmet.
“You have your choice of what kind of food and what kind of stores and, at the right time of day, the traffic is not that bad,” Talbett said.
In Lake Zurich, traditional grocers like Jewel and Dominicks’s have been in town for decades. Trader Joe’s, considered a gourmet, destination grocer, has been in town since 2001. Gourmet grocer Fresh Market in Kildeer opened in 2005. Aldi’s, a discount grocer, arrived in 2007-- in the heart of the recession. The economy resulted in discount grocers realizing considerable expansion in recent years, according to the Chicago Area Urban Grocery Study, conducted by Mid-America Real Estate.
Whole Foods Market, which draws customers from a large geographic range will open in Kildeer, March 6. Marianos Fresh Market, is expected to open at Quentin and Rte. 22 in Lake Zurich in early 2014.
Mariano's developers see Lake Zurich as ripe for an upscale grocer, said Dan Peterson, building and zoning director for Lake Zurich.
"It's a destination, upscale grocer, yet it's Roundy's at the heart. Mariano's caters to both ends," Peterson said.
The Lake Zurich area is unique in that it's the furthest north Chicagoland location for grocers like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.
Peterson said he was at the Mariano's development site some months back when three elderly woman drove up looking for the Mariano's.
"They were from up north of Grayslake and drove down because they heard Lake Zurich had a Mariano's," Peterson said.
Talbett said the village of Kildeer has been talking with Woodman’s Markets, a super store grocer, interested in a location on Rte. 12 and Cuba Road. “All it is right now is talk. We’ve never gotten a formal application. That happens in a lot of projects; people talk for a long time,” Talbett said .
Gourmet and Discount Grocers are the Trend
The local trend in grocers seems to follow the regional trend. Over a two-year period, the number of grocery stores in the Chicago area increased by 8.8 percent which was largely due to growth among discount and gourmet grocers, according to the Chicago Area Urban Grocery Study, conducted by Mid-America Real Estate.
According to the study , between 2009-2011, full-service grocers declined while gourmet grocers, like Mariano’s, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, experienced expansion.
Discount grocers also saw expansion, which was attributed to the recession.
While there are many grocery options in the Lake Zurich area, currently they all seem to be doing well, Peterson said.
He said there was some concern that grocery expansion at Wal-mart and Target in recent years would impact stand-alone grocers.
"At this point in time, they all seem to be doing well and keeping their market share," Peterson said.