The city of Joliet may have found a new grocery store to occupy one of two sites left vacant about two years ago by Certified Warehouse Foods.
Economic Development Director Steve Jones told The Times Weekly this week that El Guero is looking to set up a supermarket on the city’s east side off of Jackson Street.
The shopping center, located off of Jackson Street, is also anticipated to include additional retail.
“It’s a significant win for the city, if this comes to fruition,” Jones said.
Over time, the city has been in talks with a couple of prospects, including Save-A-Lot Grocery.
Jones said it’s not clear why the city wasn’t able to bring that grocer to town.
City staff reached out to a firm called El Guero about six months ago to get discussions started. A number of meetings since have been held to talk specifics.
“They have a signed deal with the owner,” Jones said.
Jones said the firm has had architects and contractors working on site to determine the estimated site improvement costs.
Jones said the city’s effort has made all the difference.
“This has been a proactive effort by the economic development department,” he said. “We were focusing primarily upon some of the national chains, the Save-A-Lots and the Aldi’s, that seemingly could fit a store within this location, because it wasn’t competing with other stores. … We changed strategy a little bit to start to look for regional independent entities.”
Jones added, “The difference was persistence, and then looking to see what independents were out there and could potentially utilize another location within their portfolio.”
Staff is still marketing the site of the former grocery store off of Richards Street on the city’s east side.
The Economic Development Committee is anticipated to sit down with representatives for El Guero to review incentive requests at a Nov. 13 meeting.
El Guero has six locations in the Chicago area, including Aurora and Crest Hill.