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Milwaukee-based Roundy’s announced yesterday that it will open an 80,000 square foot store on North Halsted Street in Chicago, its first move into the competitive Windy City market. The company said it would be the first of “many stores” that it plans to open in Chicago over the next three years.

“Our expansion into Chicago marks an extremely positive time in our company’s history,” said Robert Mariano, chairman/CEO of Roundy’s. “As we continue to grow in Wisconsin and Minnesota, we recognize an opportunity to expand into the Chicago market to fill a need for more unique grocers…Roundy’s will no doubt demonstrate its dedication to the City’s economic well-being. We’re well equipped to serve the shopping needs of the people of the City of Chicago.”

Mariano knows the Chicago market well, having previously served as president/CEO of Dominick’s Supermarkets there. Dominick’s currently is owned by Safeway, which has been both closing some of its stores in the area as well as opening new units and rehabilitating others.

According to the official statement released by the company, “The full-size store will be about 80,000 sq. ft. on two floors and will offer the customer a unique and exciting shopping experience, focusing on fresh offerings in produce, meat and seafood, bakery and deli. In addition, a wide selection of prepared foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner, natural and organic products and homeopathic remedies will also be available. The store will offer a wine and spirits department and pharmacy and will likely include a local neighborhood bank.”
KC's View:
There are reports – confirmed by Mariano – that Roundy’s is one of the food chains interested in proposed food hall that is expected to go into the space now occupied by the Carson Pirie Scott department store, right in the middle of Chicago’s Loop.

That probably is a pretty good metaphor for how Mariano feels about Chicago – he wants to be in the middle of it, and he’s going to make a big footprint while making an entrance.