Members of the Economic Development Commission (EDC) discussed a media blitz to help a local grocery store at a recent meeting.
Mariano's Fresh Market is scheduled to open in Vernon Hills in late June and its proximity to Jewel-Osco, at 1300 S. Milwaukee Ave., could hurt the village's tax base.
John Spoden, director of Community Development, said not only is that Jewel one of the village’s top 20 tax-producing entities, he believes it is also one of the best performing Jewel–Osco stores in the Chicago area.
Steve Martin, an EDC member, says the Jewel-Osco store in Libertyville may lose up to 50 percent of business to the new grocery store.
Business at the Jewel grocery store in downtown Arlington Heights was hurt badly when Mariano's opened near there, according to John Cortesi, EDC chairman and owner of .
“It’s a slice of a pie and the pie is only so huge,” he said.
Village Boundaries, Tax Revenues
O’Donnell and EDC members believe that many Libertyville residents don’t realize the village extends farther south along the east side of Milwaukee Avenue than the west side, and that Vernon Hills' northern boundary begins at the southwest corner of Gregg’s Landing and Milwaukee Avenue.
It is a misconception that could cause the village a lot of tax revenue, but no one knows for sure how much because the state pays tax revenues in a lump sum. What's more, the list of top tax-producing businesses is also not given in order of revenue, according to Spoden.
Other Possible Side-Effects
Aside from lower tax revenues, village residents may suffer in less obvious ways, said EDC members during the meeting.
The Jewel-Osco store sponsors Little League teams and programs at schools. The store may not have the money to continue doing that if revenue drops too much.
O’Donnell is inquiring with Jewel-Osco corporate office to see if they can install gas pumps to draw more business. EDC member Bill Abington asked if Mayor Terry Weppler could be on a conference call with O’Donnell and the corporate office.
Media blitz ideas include messages on water bills, information on the village’s website and having Libertyville High School sports teams, dressed in their jerseys, putting groceries in customer cars.
On the day that Mariano’s opens, Mayor Weppler is expected to split his time between the Jewel–Osco and Sunset Foods, thanking people for shopping at their local stores.
Members also discussed posting signs thanking people for shopping in Libertyville near the village limits.
“When people shop local, the money stays here,” Cortesi said.
Correction: The previous article misquoted Terry O'Donnell as saying the Jewel-Osco store in Libertyville could lose businesses to Mariano's Fresh Market.