What Should Go Here? The Old Oak Lawn Fresh Market

There is a big gaping vacancy at the Green Oak Plaza at 95th Street and Cicero Avenue that used to be occupied by a produce market. Tell us what should go there.

There never seemed to be a lot of shoppers at the Oak Lawn Fresh Market in the Green Oak Plaza, probably because the produce bins were empty most of the time. Peering through the windows, the storefront seems to be in pretty good shape, with a cement floor.

TELL US what type of business you'd like to see occupy this 17,400-square-foot retail space at 95th Street and Cicero Avenue?

The space offers 17,400 square feet waiting to be filled by a new business. The parking lot is in good shape and well marked. It also comes with its own rear service drive. Considering that the former supermarket went through two owners, should another grocery store go in there?

Peering through the windows, it's a deceptively huge space that could be turned into something great.

Robin Realty is leasing the property. What types of business would you like to see occupy the storefront at 9503 S. Cicero? Another "casual fast dining" restaurant? A gourmet food shop? An Apple Store? A boutique?

Judy O'Neill March 26, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Barnes & Noble or Trader Joe's
Oak Lawn March 26, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Oooo, no, no Continental Sales. I used to have dealings in my job with that store. Not sure if it's still the same but they used to be one of two businesses in the state of Illinois that was allowed to sell out of code products (not milk or eggs but sustainable foods like cereal, crackers, chips) for rock-bottom prices. It's not what we want. They were dirty, disorganized, rude owners and employees.
Oak Lawn March 26, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Too bad we can't forward a copy of this to Trader Joe's headquarters! Oak Lawn wants one! I'd rather have it there then at 111th & Cicero because hopefully whatever is developed at that location will bring its own business. 95th & Cicero corner needs to be infused with a business that will draw more people and hopefully make that mall more aesthetically pleasing to the eye!
November March 26, 2012 at 02:59 PM
I love the Traders Joe's idea, and I think Barnes and Noble should go to 111th and Cicero or 95th & Western old Borders.
Karen March 26, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I along with many other people I speak to would LOVE to see a Jamba Juice SOMEWHERE in Oak Lawn!! I like the Trader Joe's idea also! The old Dominick's would be a good site for Whole Foods.
ABR March 26, 2012 at 03:52 PM
I would love a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. SOMETHING HEALTHY & ORGANIC!!! The whole Green Oak's Plaza stores could use a facelift!! Bring in POPULAR stores that will bring in the business!!
Ron Williams March 26, 2012 at 04:07 PM
It is my understanding that Trader Joe's will only open stores in rapidly-growing urban and suburban areas with a required average income.I do not know if we would be eligible. What role does the village play in luring business here, is it not the director of economic developments job to make our village attractive to suitors?
j-oak lawn March 26, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Trader Joes! ... Whole Foods is a bit pricey for this area.
MJ March 26, 2012 at 05:01 PM
I agree, Trader Joe's! Nothing like that around here, many people I know from around here make regular trips to the one in Orland, I do as well.
trojan 35 March 26, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Village doesn't own property, Doesn't really have a say in what goes in there. No of these upscale places are coming to Oak Lawn, T he demographics aren't here sorry to say. Expect another grocery store or fruit market..
JOHN MORLOCK March 26, 2012 at 06:17 PM
carla kaplan March 26, 2012 at 06:31 PM
To Carol: If you go to Trader Joe's website, they have a specific link for 'Location requests.' When we were discussing having one at 110th and Cicero, I linked to Trader Joe's and included the URL for the article and responses, for what that's worth. If you would like to add your vote to have a Trader Joe's in this area, the link is http://www.traderjoes.com/about/location-requests-form.asp
Grunty March 26, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Ugh, I'd hate trader joe's only because my wife would shop there all the time and I think its overpriced. But she'd sure be happy and it would be a nice anchor.... Put an auto parts store, a nail salon, and a food place like noodle's and company in that strip mall and it will come back to life.
nancy poo March 26, 2012 at 06:55 PM
WHOLE FOODS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dave W. March 26, 2012 at 07:01 PM
To anybody that insists that Trader Joe's or Whole Foods or Jamba Juice or ANYTHING else like it is coming to Oak Lawn; sorry, but it is incredibly unlikely. As trojan35 noted, all those businesses do something called 'market research' before they open up a store at great cost. A few years ago there was a big outcry when Steak N Shake bailed on opening in Bridgeview. There simply isn't the right demographics (namely high enough income) in the area to sustain a business that needs frequent, repeat, customers. Does anyone think that Trader Joe's has heard of Orland Park, but NOT Oak Lawn, with comparable population? Also, keep in mind that similarly priced 'fresh markets' have come and gone, in somewhat rapid sucession, because they were priced higher than the area could sustain. They didn't close from being TOO busy, folks. Face it, it last did well when it was Save-A-Lot, which was BARGAIN priced. They didn't close from being TOO cheap, but because the owners of the property forced them out (I talked to the store general manager when they were closing). They wanted a tenant that could bring more in rent; except that they seemed to have outsmarted themselves, since they can't keep it filled anymore. This corner exactly crystalizes my concerns for the 111th site. If we can't keep THAT location, (95th) filled, how can a LESS prominent site hope to draw? It comes down to economics, not wishful thinking, people. When the average income goes up, so will our store's 'quality'.
OakLawnGuy March 26, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Wonder if Walt's would consider opening there? Are they a Certified store, like Freshline? This town needs some grocery competition, with Dominick's closing all three reachable outlets.
Wendy March 26, 2012 at 08:20 PM
I keep hearing comments that Trader Joe's or Whole Foods or Jamba Juice would never come to Oak Lawn because the demographics just aren't there to support it (not high income enough). But I find issue with this statement because Jewel is alive and thriving in Oak Lawn and have you seen their prices? I work close to a Whole Foods that I occasionally visit at lunch. I think the prices at Jewel and Whole Foods are very similar and Trader Joe's is cheaper than both of them. I think many, many towns want a Trader Joe's, but they can't build them everywhere. As far as a Jamba Juice or Caribou Coffee or Noodles & Company locating in Oak Lawn, I hope that a franchise owner wants to invest here!
KJones March 27, 2012 at 01:10 AM
How about less chains and more Mom & Pop businesses.
2nd March 27, 2012 at 01:30 AM
It really does not matter what 'we' (the residents) want. The mayor and the trustees do what ever THEY want to do. This includes buying buildings (the Edgar Funeral Home at 109th & Cicero) with no input from residents or taxpayers, and now their 'brilliant' idea to purchase and relocate the Masonic Temple at 52nd and 96th Avenue in order to extend the Village Green. I want to know how the Village government can just decide to do these things (especially relocate the Masonic Temple onto Village property at the corner of 96th and 53rd Court - is this a separation of church and government issue?) without asking the taxpayers! I'm sick of the Village brain trust trying to make believe that Oak Lawn is rolling in dough. Fix the streets! Hire some more police officers! Stop trying to pretend OL is on par with Naperville/Oak Brook/Hinsdale
2nd March 27, 2012 at 02:06 AM
VILLAGE OF OAK LAWN, ILLINOIS MUNICIPAL CENTER @ 9446 S. RAYMOND AVENUE PRESIDENT & BOARD OF TRUSTEES REGULAR MEETING MINUTES #2012-06 TUESDAY – FEBRUARY 28, 2012 C. DISCUSSION ON MASONIC TEMPLE PROPERTY/VILLAGE GREEN EXPANSION President Heilmann discussed that he had several discussions with members of the Oak Lawn Masonic Temple on the possible relocation of the building presently on 52nd Avenue. After several discussions, they have agreed in principle if the Board would agree to relocation behind the Village Hall thereby allowing for the expansion of the Village Green of 40,000 square feet. President Heilmann stated that the terms of the agreement are that the Village would pay up to $875,000 dollars for that acquisition. He believes this would be a nice boost for our Village with all the events that take place on the Village Green. He asked the Board to consider and give direction to the Village Manager and the Village Attorneys to prepare legal agreements for the purchase of the Oak Lawn Masonic Temple property and construction of the new Oak Lawn Masonic Temple on the north parking lot of the Village of Oak Lawn for the stated price.
2nd March 27, 2012 at 02:08 AM
The Mason’s could not go to a new facility until it is constructed. To do that, the Village would have to construct the building during this construction season taking us into 2013 to even begin a renovation. We do have funds available in the Build America Bond funds and there is discussion of other property in the Village that may be sold that could repay those should the Board desire. Trustee Olejniczak moved, seconded by Trustee Phelan to table Item X. C. ROLL CALL: TRUSTEE PHELAN-YES TRUSTEE QUINLAN-YES TRUSTEE DUHIG-YES TRUSTEE OLEJNICZAK-YES TRUSTEE STREIT-YES TRUSTEE TRAUTSCH-YES MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.
2nd March 27, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Trustee Olejniczak had some concerns on the impact this would have on the neighborhood and felt that it was important to get feedback from the residents in that area. The residents put up with a lot of the fests and the activities that go on. President Heilmann stated that he had a round table meeting a couple of years ago with residents from that block regarding this. He will work with Trustee Olejniczak to set up a meeting with residents that live around the Village Hall. Trustee Olejniczak stated that he is not comfortable with borrowing from the Build America Bond funds to finance this project because this is not an infrastructure issue. The BAB funds should go towards resurfacing more streets. President Heilmann stated that if there is interest in this project moving forward, there is a time factor involved that moves this to 2014. Trustee Quinlan suggested that we need to follow up on this item.
J March 27, 2012 at 03:02 AM
There are many people saying Trader Joes and Whole Foods. My mom lives in Indiana and they have a great organic food co-op. That would be awesome for Oak Lawn. They sell fruits, veggies, and make salads, soups, dips ect. with the organic products to sell. We love it and it's not expensive. That keeps the corporate out of the equation and still satisfies the need for good organics.
Dave W. March 27, 2012 at 03:37 AM
Due to specific dietary needs for our household, we take the hike to Hinsdale or Willowbrook to Wholefoods. I would never say that Jewel is 'cheap' especially with less competition now, but to say Wholefoods is comparable...only because they both take money! They have half or a third of the selection, at a third to double the price. Is it healthier? Probably. Better for the planet, probably too. Cheaper? No. Same for Trader Joe's. Again, the demographics don't lie, and these companies don't routinely turn down free money. If there was a market for them, they would already be here. 95th and Cicero has turned over how many times since Sav-A-Lot was forced out? What about now-vacant 87th and Cicero? Did we forget that is Oak Lawn too? 103rd and Central is vastly empty, including Senese's, which won't be easy to fill. As 2nd says, we need to stop pretending we are some other town. Just because we don't want or need two "Buy Gold" places or countless currency exchanges doesn't mean we are going to be Oak Brook either. We don't have to like it, per se, but working to make our town a better place will make people want to live here that value our town more, which might mean a slow but steady progression upward in the incomes of those who move here. Over time the stores everybody seems to covet but could never afford to shop at often enough for them to stay open will find the demographics more favorable for ongoing business. THEN we can gladly pay ten dollars for organic milk.
trojan 35 March 27, 2012 at 03:53 AM
Finally someone who gets it!!! Thanks Dave for telling it like it is. Businesses open up to make a profit not because people wish it was there to fill an empty hole in a mall.Sorry people Those fancy stores are not coming to Oak Lawn
trojan 35 March 27, 2012 at 03:59 AM
It won't happen 2nd mayor doesn't have the votes
trojan 35 March 27, 2012 at 04:03 AM
That deal with the Mason's is DOA The trustees,well a majority of them don't want to spend 750,000 designed to repair roads to go to expanding the village green for an ice skating rink!!! That's the Mayor's hairbrained scheme all for his re-election campaign. It won't happen
2nd March 27, 2012 at 02:44 PM
trojan 35: a meeting for neighbors regarding the Masonic Temple purchase and relocate deal has been called for 7pm on 4/2/12 at the Senior Center. Invite doesn't say Village is asking for residents opinion of the deal, just that they are asking what the residents would like to see on that land. Just as residents weren't asked about the purchase of the Edgar Funeral Home, the Board Meeting notes indicate that the Village is going to do in the same way - without telling the taxpayers what they are doing.
Richard March 27, 2012 at 03:48 PM
I'm another of those who drive to Orland Park to shop at Trader Joe's.... so I'd love to have one closer to home. On the other hand, it looks to me as though the food stores we've already got don't see a market for (for example) organic produce, low-sodium variations of processed foods, etc. (One exception: You can get organic berries at Pete's Fresh Market in Evergreen Park.) And I agree that Trader Joe's (and Whole Foods even more so) assumes a certain customer base in terms of income and sophistication (for lack of a better word for describing being a savvy and health-conscious shopper). And-- Trader Joe's stores mostly are rather small (the one in Orland Pk is probably one of the larger ones since they expanded at one point), so I bet the space at 95th/Cicero is too big for them. And there's no point in speculating as to what should go into existing structures at 111th/Cicero since the village wants to radically redevelop the whole site.
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) March 27, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Thanks so someone who appropriated a village trustee's identity, I'm shutting down the comment board. Sir, you will be dealt with appropriately.


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