My local grocery store, Dominick's—one of a chain in the Chicago area for decades—will be closing its doors forever at the end of this month, along with all of the other stores that bear its name. Its parent company of several years, Safeway, decided to let them all go due to financial insolvency earlier this fall.
This store sits mere blocks from my home. I have been shopping weekly at this particular location for almost twenty years, my entire married life.
It isn't a Whole Foods or a Fresh Market. It isn't fancy in any way. It is more of your standard large supermarket. And yet, there is a familiarity, a warmth and a sense of community that I enjoy tremendously.
Not to mention, I know the layout like the back of my hand.
When I first heard the news, I felt disappointed. But as the actual closing date of December 28 draws near, surprisingly, I am feeling quite a loss.
The feeling of loss is not so much for the physical store itself and its array of products from which I choose each week. Or, the overall vibe that fits me like a glove. (Through the years I have had many mystical experiences in this store. We laugh about it in Soul to Soul Circle. Some have even shared my experiences. So, obviously some good energy is to be found in this store for whatever reason.)
The pang in my heart rather is due to the possible loss of all of the employees—the produce clerks, the cashiers, the baggers, the shelf stockers, the deli counter servers— ALL of them, most of whom have been working at the store for as long as I have been shopping there.
Through the years, I have come to know these individuals and really appreciate my interactions with them each week. I know their names. I know about their families. I know of some of their passions and hobbies outside of work. I know who walks in my neighborhood during his lunch break.
Of course, I know some better than others and in different ways. It really doesn't matter. The point is that relationships have been created—a weekly and sometimes bi-weekly or more bond—even under the glare of harsh grocery store lights and sometimes crowded food aisles.
I really care about these individuals. We shared many Soul to Soul moments. We are friends.
Word on the street is that another grocery store chain is purchasing this store. I heard just yesterday while walking my dog from an employee (the one whole walks in my neighborhood during lunch) that it may be a Whole Foods, one of the stores that has made a bid.
I like Whole Foods. I appreciate the complete array of healthy options that it provides. I sometimes travel to the nearest one in Evanston for a quick supplemental run. But, it won't be my Dominick's.
Unfortunately, whatever corporate store replaces Dominick's, is under no obligation to keep the same employees. Many of them have shared with me, that after 39 years/25 years/15 years with Dominick's, their pay has most likely grown too large to be hired to remain when the new company can simply hire brand new workers starting at the bottom of the pay scale.
And THAT scenario is a whole other blog…
Their fates are totally unknown as they head into the holiday season. They will likely miss us as much as we will miss them. But, more than just a feeling of loss weighs on their hearts. Financial fear also weighs on their minds.
And yet, there they are each new day in a quickly fading Dominick's, with the same friendly demeanor as they welcome us into the store and ask if they can help us find anything.
Life is change. Resisting change creates suffering. Good-byes are hard.
From a human perspective, I feel a deeper sense of loss than was expected. And, simultaneously, from a soul perspective, I know that all is well.
Remember to hug your grocer today:)
Warmth and LOVE,
If you enJOY my blog and would like it sent directly to your email, simply type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time. And, if desired, you can find me on Facebook at Annie Burnside, Soul Nurturer and Author and Twitter, as well. Thank you!