Mariano’s First Store Located in Arlington Heights To Be Sold If Albertsons-Kroger Merger Proceeds

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The fate of the first Mariano’s store in Arlington Heights, Illinois, shown here on Tuesday night, July 9, 2024, is up to the approval or disapproval of a merger of Albertsons and Kroger grocery chains (CARDINAL NEWS)
The fate of the first Mariano’s store in Arlington Heights, Illinois, shown here on Tuesday night, July 9, 2024, is up to the approval or disapproval of a merger of Albertsons and Kroger grocery chains (CARDINAL NEWS).

The first Mariano’s grocery store, which opened in Arlington Heights on Tuesday, July 20, 2010, will be sold if a merger of Albertsons and Kroger is approved — possibly as early as August or September 2024. Several other Mariano’s stores near Arlington Heights would also be sold, including the Mariano’s stores in Des Plaines, Palatine, Lake Zurich, Park Ridge, and Crystal Lake. Some Jewel-Osco Stores would also be sold.

Mariano’s stores that are not sold (e.g, the Buffalo Grove location and the Northbrook location on Capital Drive near I-294 and Willow Road), would likely undergo a name change if the Mariano’s name is sold along with the stores that are sold.

However, the merger might not succeed for Albertsons and Kroger. Illinois is one of several states that joined a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission seeking to block the Albertsons – Kroger merger. The suit, filed February 26, 2024 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, alleges the merger would eliminate competition and lead to higher prices.

“The proposed merger between Albertsons and Kroger would greatly reduce competition in the grocery market while leading to fewer choices for consumers and increased grocery prices at a time many families are struggling to keep up. Corporate profits and shareholder payouts should not come at the expense of consumers.”

— Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul

An FTC court hearing regarding the lawsuit is scheduled in Oregon on Aug. 26, 2024.

Consumers shopping at some of the initial Mariano’s stores, would also suffer the second turnover of private label products and other store nuances. Consumers experienced fewer choices when Kroger bought Mariano’s from Roundy’s; and there would be a turnover again with the loss of Kroger labels and possibly the loss of other labels, such as Private Selection, Simple Truth, and Home Chef.

Employees of Albertsons and Kroger have also expressed concern that their safety and work conditions could suffer under a larger Albertsons/Kroger company formed by the merger.

The proposed divestment sale of the stores is contingent on a successful merger of Albertsons and Kroger. Albertsons and Kroger have claimed they need to merge to compete with Amazon and Walmart.

Initially, only 14 Mariano’s stores were expected to be sold for divestment, but then a larger divestment was deemed necessary as a condition for approval of the merger. The Mariano’s store sales divestment required jumped from 14 to 28. The Mariano’s store in Arlington Heights is believed to be a profitable store for Kroger’s

If the merger succeeds, the sold Mariano’s stores would not close, but would be owned by another grocery company that doesn’t carry Kroger-labeled products. The status of other labels (i.e., who would own the other private labels, such as Private Selection, Simple Truth, and Home Chef) is not yet clear. It is also not clear whether the sold Mariano’s stores would keep the Mariano’s name, or utilize a name of the new grocery store owner.

C&S Wholesale Grocers, which owns the Piggly Wiggly brand, independently franchises store operators. Last year C&S Wholesale Grocers signed a deal to purchase over 400 Kroger and Albertsons stores in the United States, contingent on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approval of the pending $24.6 billion merger of Kroger and Albertsons.

According to Albertsons and Kroger, employees’ existing collective bargaining agreements would still be honored under the divestment sale arrangement.

A much smaller list of Jewel-Osco stores would be sold, and none of the listed Jewel-Osco stores listed in the contingent sale are near Arlington Heights.

Mariano’s is named after Bob Mariano, who initially lived in Jefferson Park in Chicago, and then grew up in Arlington Heights. Bob Mariano became friends with Dominick DiMatteo — the founder of Dominick’s Finer Foods — as he rose through the ranks of Dominick’s. Bob Mariano became CEO and President at Dominick’s, and during part of his time employed at Dominick’s, he worked at the Dominick’s Arlington Heights location at 325 East Palatine Road, which after sitting empty for a few years is about to open as an Amazon Fresh store (late July or August 2024).

After Dominick’s closed, Bob Mariano became CEO at Roundy’s and founded Mariano’s, opening the first Mariano’s store in Arlington Heights in 2010. Kroger bought Mariano’s in 2015. In Bob Mariano’s next venture, he founded Dom’s Kitchen & Market chain, with the name in honor of Dominick DiMatteo, but Dom’s Kitchen & Market suddenly closed in April 2024 after a merger with Foxtrot Market. All Dom’s Kitchen & Market stores and Foxtrot Market stores closed.

The following two lists consist of Illinois stores (Mariano’s stores and Jewel-Osco stores) that Kroger or Albertsons would sell, respectively, in the divestment sale arrangement …

Mariano’s Locations:
Stores near Arlington Heights (bold)

802 East Northwest Highway, Arlington Heights

144 South Gary Avenue, Bloomingdale

3350 North Western Avenue, Chicago

5353 North Elston Avenue, Chicago

1800 West Lawrence Avenue, Chicago

5201 North Sheridan Road, Chicago

1500 North Clybourn Avenue Suite 104, Chicago

3857 South Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Chicago

105 Northwest highway, Crystal Lake

2999 Waukegan Road, Deerfield

10 East Golf Road, Des Plaines

678 North York Street, Elmhurst

21001 South LaGrange Road, Frankfort

6655 Grand Avenue, Gurnee

1350 East Route 22, Lake Zurich

345 West Roosevelt Avenue, Lombard

1300 South Naper Boulevard, Naperville

784 Skokie Boulevard, Northbrook

11000 South Cicero Avenue, Oak Lawn

545 North Hicks Road, Palatine

1900 South Cumberland Avenue, Park Ridge

3358 West Touhy Avenue, Skokie

1720 North Milwaukee Avenue, Vernon Hills

3020 Wolf Road, Westchester

4700 Gilbert Avenue, Western Springs

150 West 63rd Street, Westmont

625 South Main Street, Wheaton

1822 Willow Road, Winnetka

Jewel-Osco Locations:

12001 South Pulaski Road, Alsip

87 West 87th Street, Chicago

1537 North Larkin Avenue, Joliet

12803 South Harlem Avenue, Palos Heights

The north entrance to the first Mariano's store located at 802 East Northwest Highway in Arlington Heights on Tuesday night, July 9, 2024 (CARDINAL NEWS)
The north entrance to the first Mariano’s store located at 802 East Northwest Highway in Arlington Heights on Tuesday night, July 9, 2024 (CARDINAL NEWS).

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