Back in the 1990s when Bob Mariano, current chairman, president and chief executive officer of Roundy's, ran Dominick's Finer Foods, the chain was the market leader in the Chicagoland area and had a national reputation for having some of the best supermarkets in the U.S. He did so well that Safeway came knocking and eventually acquired the chain in 1998. Mr. Mariano left Dominick's and moved to Wisconsin to run Roundy's.
While Mr. Mariano left Chicago, it was rumored for years that he was looking to move back into the market. The talk proved true when Roundy's opened its first upscale Mariano's Fresh Market stores in Arlington Heights and Lakeshore East in 2010. At the time, a company press release said the new concept would "reflect old-world adherence to quality and personal service, blended with Mariano's signature approach to supermarket innovation."
When Safeway announced it was looking to sell off Dominick's assets in October, many assumed Mr. Mariano would be beating a path to secure some of the chain's best locations.
Now comes word that Roundy's has reached a deal to buy 11 Dominick's from Safeway. The company expects to close on the locations by the end of the month.
"This acquisition is transformational in terms of Mariano's expansion plans in the Chicago metropolitan area, allowing us to open 11 additional stores in 2014 in prime locations with great market demographics," said Mr. Mariano in a statement. "These key locations will seamlessly integrate into and complement our existing base of 13 Mariano's locations as well as our five additional 2014 Mariano's locations now under construction."
How likely is Mariano's to grow to become the top supermarket chain in the Chicago market?