Is Mariano's the Next Wal-Mart?

The grocery store battle for our dollar continues.  Jewel-Osco must be breathing easier knowing Dominick's is in their rear view mirror but watch out, Mariano's is gaining speed, but at what cost?  

Mariano's is more expensive than Jewel, so a good portion of their customer base is most likely safe.  However the folks at Sunset Foods have got to be concerned.  Mariano's is popping up all over, some within miles of their key locations.  Coincidence, I don't think so.  I personally like family owned grocers, they & small businesses are part of what makes our neighborhood's what they are, quaint & thriving communities.  

What I don't like is when big business plays dirty. Wal-Mart is often accused of not being concerned about communities and the small businesses within.  Looks like Mariano's is playing the same game. Mariano's must love my employees because they've been in my store more than once trying to poach my staff!  Really?  There isn't enough good people out of work, you need to go into a small businesses and try to steal their employees?  I'm flattered they like my staff so much but next time, at least buy something!  

This week I had a pastry chef from the new Mariano's in LZ come in and apply for a decorator position.  She went on to say they have been training all week, and I quote "they have cakes stacked everywhere, getting ready for the big opening next weekend".   Can you spell eeew?  

Being in the business, I know a lot of things most people wouldn't.  So most of what she said did not surprise me. For example, most grocers get their cakes & cupcakes delivered pre-made, pre-packaged & frozen solid.  They are often made by other companies & shipped frozen by the pallet.  Most companies require a shelf life (how long they can sit out before building bacteria or mold) of approximately '2' weeks.   So the next time you see a huge honkin' cupcake for $1.99 or a 6 pack for $3 or $4, think twice as you have no idea when they were made and what is in them. 

I shop at grocery stores, I even like shopping at Mariano's for some things.  However, I don't like their unethical business practices.  So remember folks, bigger stores doesn't always mean better products.  Protect your community and the families within, shop small business.  You usually get a better product anyway.  

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Marc Bulandr February 05, 2014 at 11:08 AM
Agree with both Steves. It seems like Ms. Volante is angry about Mariano's trying to take her employee. Also, I'm not sure being an owner of a boutique cupcake business qualifies her as an expert in the grocery business. While I'm not either, what I can say is that my experience with Mariano's has been mostly positive. Their prices are higher than Jewel on some things, lower on others.....because they are a rebranded Roundy's with added higher end foods. Bob Mariano knows a bit about Chicago and the grocery business...having been born and raised in the area, and an executive with Dominicks for many years before Safeway bought them and ran them into the ground.
Nellie H February 05, 2014 at 02:49 PM
Agree with all of the above....and furthermore, Jewel has the most surly employees I have ever dealt with...at least the Barrinton location. I have not shopped there for several years due to the terrible service. Wish Mariano's opened in the old LZ location at 22/Rand. Also, don't forget Heinens Grocery .....best service I have ever had. Prices higher on some items, lower on some. Delicious prepared foods and close to home for me.
Marc Bulandr February 05, 2014 at 03:50 PM
Agreed, Nellie! Something has happened to Jewel of late, since they were sold by SuperValu. Barrington, Algonquin, and Lake Zurich have major issues with scanning accurately, and employees that have big time chips on their shoulders. Heinens is nice (in fact, GREAT employees,) but I find their pricing on most everything "Barrington" higher. I too wish Mariano's would have purchased the either the 22/Rand or 22/14 Dominicks. The books must not have been impressive at those locations.
Sally Freyer February 05, 2014 at 05:45 PM
I visited the new store today and was unimpressed with the organic produce--appears to have experienced an exposure of some type (skins are wrinkled and some were mushy, particularly the bell peppers). I went to Trader Joes and purchased fresh organic peppers on the cheap compared to what Mariano's was charging….the spinning, flashing lights on the floor are completely over the top and made me dizzy walking down the aisles. Maybe it is meant to distract you from the wrinkled mushy fruit!
Zed February 05, 2014 at 07:26 PM
Heinens "prices higher on some items, lower on some". Lower? Where were those products hiding? Perhaps there are some lower prices there, but I wasn't at all impressed. Also, getting in and out of that location onto Route 59... What were they thinking putting up shop there? I don't give it long. Mariano's also is too expensive. (And I thought Dominick's was bad that way!) Jewel seems to have been making changes in the right direction, price-wise. I'll agree with what others above have written, customer service is lacking and grumpy. Best grocery store for product, prices and customer service? Aldi's!


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