Hobby Lobby moves from Mundelein to Vernon Hills
The new Hobby Lobby on Townline Road in Vernon HiIls was formerly a Dominick's Fresh Foods grocery store. | Rick Kambic~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 5, 2013 1:10PM
VERNON HILLS — Hobby Lobby’s transition from Mundelein to Vernon Hills was completed Feb. 4, with doors opening to customers for the first time.
The new Hobby Lobby in Vernon Hills fills a large vacancy that was created when the Dominick’s grocery store negotiated a lease buyout last spring. The storefront remained vacant until Inland Reality, the property owner, signed Hobby Lobby to a lease in July.
“The original location in Mundelein opened 14 years ago in January 1999,” said John Schumacher, Hobby Lobby’s assistant vice president of advertising. “Our rationale for this move is twofold: to increase exposure of our store in a high-traffic area, and to enhance our customers’ shopping experience by providing a wider and more abundant selection of merchandise.”
The new Vernon Hills Store, which will be 47,000-square-feet, is actually smaller than the original Mundelein store’s 55,000-square-feet.
Mundelein Village Trustee Terri Voss, who chairs the village’s Community Development Committee, said Hobby Lobby had too much space for its traffic at the current location.
After Hobby Lobby identified its revenue struggles in 2011, Voss said the village tried, unsuccessfully, to entice the company with other locations in town.
The Vernon Hills location is closer to both the Tri-State Tollway and Westfield Hawthorn Mall, a major retail corridor.
Vernon Hills officials expressed excitement about the quick turnaround, especially after the loss of Dominick’s.
Assistant Village Manager John Kalmar noted that the Dominick’s, previously located on Townline Road, was the only grocer in town for nearly 30 years and held the loyalty of many residents.
Kalmar said the village and Dominick’s previously worked toward a complete renovation or a relocation of the store. Numerous potential sites in Vernon Hills were identified and analyzed, he reported.
But after Safeway Inc. purchased Dominick’s Finer Foods for $1.8 billion in 1998, Kalmar said communication regarding the Vernon Hills store slowed down, and throughout the company’s intentions became unknown in recent years.
When Dominick’s closed last year, the store had not identified a new location.
In a written statement, representatives from Inland Reality stated that they received plenty of interest in the building, including competing grocers. Inland decided to conduct market research, which recommended “a best of class, soft goods retailer.”
Shortly after Hobby Lobby signed its lease in Vernon Hills, Mundelein Village President Kenneth Kessler announced Wal-Mart’s intention to buy the Oak Creek Plaza property in Mundelein, along Townline Road where Menards is currently located.
Mundelein officials have reported that Wal-Mart is considering building a superstore, which it could not get in Vernon Hills.
Voss also serves on the village negotiating team that’s working with Wal-Mart on potential redevelopment plans. She said the old Hobby Lobby store is not part of the property acquisition, and the building will not be demolished. Voss said the property will be available for lease after Wal-Mart builds its new store.
Vince Parker, a spokesperson for Hobby Lobby, said Wal-Mart’s move does not affect his company’s plans to close its Mundelein store.