Dominick's stores prepare for final days of business

December 20, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Shoppers are finding massive discounts on what's left on store shelves, but some customers are trying to figure out what to do with prescriptions they have on file at in-store pharmacies.

The 59 pharmacies in Dominick's stores will shut down Friday night. The prescriptions and inventory of the pharmacies have all been sold to 45 to Walgreens, 11 to Mariano's, nine going to CVS, and four to Jewel-Osco. However, customers do not need to follow their prescriptions to those store pharmacies.

A quarter-century at the cash register has yielded Gloria Schultz a treasure trove of relationships.

"It hurts, I'm angry at what they've done to us. All of us, putting all of us out of work, not giving us any information as to what's coming in. I feel bad for all the customers, it's just been horrible," said Schultz.

Her response is typical of the 80-odd employees of the Evanston Dominick's that are out of work as of a week from tomorrow, Dec 28. Employees of the following six stores get a reprieve from the axe to January 25: Aurora, Shorewood, Westchester, Buffalo Grove, Gurnee, and the Chicago store at 3145 S. Ashland.

"You do get a relationship going with them and when you see them weekly, you learn more about them, and when you find out that this happening to them, you really have feelings for them," said Bobbie Oberhelman, customer.

So sad that as seen in this customer-shot video obtained by ABC7 Eyewitness News that local residents threw a party for the people that, through weekly visits, had become family.

"The fact that Evanstonians are throwing a party for the people that worked for this Dominick's gives some indication of how important they are to us and how truly terrific they have been," said Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl.

The mayor wrote a blanket referral letter today for workers who at best get eight weeks of severance pay, and she's hopeful a Whole Foods store will take its place.

"Safeway has shown they just don't care about these workers, they don't care whats going to happen to them after these stores close," said Eric Bailey, UFCW.

For now, these people can only work through their last days facing barren shelves -- with the professionalism that's earned them the love of their community

"As soon as I saw it, I just started crying. But it shows at least someone cared about us," said Schultz.

Safeway said that they reject the characterization of the union that they did only the minimum for Dominick's employees.

Report: Centrella may buy Dominick's stores

A possible deal is in the works for area independent grocery chains to take over some Dominick's stores when they leave the Chicago market at the end of the month.

According to Crain's Chicago Business, Joliet-based independent grocery chain co-op Centrella is in negotiations.

In October, it was announced all 72 Dominick's stores would close.

According to the company's parent, Safeway, more than 5,600 employees could be laid off when all the Dominick's stores close. That includes the additional 141 employees at Dominick's Oak Brook division office and more than 300 workers at its Northlake warehouse.

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