Joe Caputo & Sons Sudden Closure at Palatine Rd and Arlington Heights Rd Follows Ashley Furniture Departure

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Joe Caputo & Sons has closed two locations, one in Arlington Heights, and one in Northbrook. The closure is a hardship for near north side Arlington Heights residents, who prefer not to fight the traffic while crossing Palatine Road to get to grocers on Rand Road during prime time shopping hours.

The closures occurred less than two years after the business moved into retail locations of four former Dominick’s stores. Caputo’s sublease for the Arlington Heights store with Dominick’s former parent Safeway was due to expire at the end of 2015.

Safeway, which dumped the Dominick’s stores after letting them decline in quality, merged with the Jewel-Osco parent company Albertson’s in 2014. Safeway had a long-term lease for the store, and recently approved the option of a five-year extension.

Joe Caputo & Sons, an independent grocery chain, still has locations in Des Plaines, Palatine and Algonquin. The two closed stores opened at 4125 Dundee Road in Northbrook in May 2014 and at 325 East Palatine Road in Arlington Heights in June 2014.

The 50,000 square foot Arlington Heights store was the grocery store’s fifth Northwest Suburban location.

Competition is tough at the Palatine Road-Rand Road-Arlington Heights Road triangle, where seven stores with groceries are located nearby. A Jewel-Osco, a Trader Joe’s and a Harvest Fresh are only one minute north of the closed store’s location. Just a little bit further are a huge Ultra Foods store and an Aldi Foods store in Prospect Heights, a Target store with a grocery department, and Mariano’s Fresh Market.

The Village of Arlington Heights is likely to give a nod to a grocery store at the location because it creates secondary traffic for other stores in the Town & Country Shopping Center. A large Ashley Furniture store also recently closed in October 2015, just east of the Caputo location. The Walgreens just to the west of the Caputo location also cut back their hours from 24 hours to 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.

Although 365 by Whole Foods might want to butt heads with nearby Trader Joe’s, the new lower priced 365 by Whole Foods is slated to open only five stores in western states in 2016, and only double that number in 2017. A move to put a 365 by Whole Foods at the location would be an interesting move in the Chicago grocery market.

So what other businesses are doing well that command 50,000 square feet? Surprisingly, the fitness market is not yet saturated. Xsport Fitness on Dundee Road near Ridge Avenue is highly overcrowded, even though they have a second location in Arlington Heights near Golf Road and Arlington Heights Road. Their Schaumburg location at the former Great Indoors location at Golf Road and Meacham Road is also overcrowded. Would XSport consider a third location in Arlington Heights?

Joe Caputo & Sons is focusing its efforts on remaining stores, and on opening a new store in Elk Grove Village — also a former Dominick’s location.

Caputo’s Facebook page posted an announcement last week for positions available for the upcoming Elk Grove location.

The opening date of the Elk Grove store was delayed because of problems with the old cooling system at the former Dominick’s site. A new cooling system was necessary.

Joe Caputo & Sons still plans to move its original 10,000-square-foot store from 959 East Oakton Street to a larger 60,000-square-foot location at 1555 Lee Street in Des Plaines. The larger location is also a former Dominick’s store at The Oaks Shopping Center owned by Caputo.

Village officials should definitely consider what can be done to improve traffic flow at the Palatine Road-Rand Road-Arlington Heights Road triangle where the area is a nightmare at rush hour and during weekend shopping hours.

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