The will close its doors come November due to failed negotiations with the building's landlord. The roughly 40 full- and part-time employees were notified earlier today, Monday, in a meeting and a letter by owner David Karczewski.
"I think we were all really surprised," said Tim Thrall, who has been manager at the Grayslake store for more than three years. "I can say that 99.9 percent of us are just really sad." Thrall said he found out with the rest of the staff this morning.
"We want to do business there, but we just couldn't figure it out," said Karczewski, clearly upset about having to make the decision. He said he has been in lease negotiations since last December with the landlords of the building. "It got to the point that we could see nothing was going to happen and we had to give our employees plenty of notice."
"Closing was not something we wanted to do. We wanted to continue to grow in Lake County," Karczewski said.
The Karczewski family took over the Grayslake Piggly Wiggly franchise in 2008. It has served as one of the Village's few go-to grocery stores. The kids love the smaller shopping carts, and shoppers enjoyed the personal service they received.
"I am so upset about this. I love my small town Grocery," posted Kelly Truelove on Facebook.
"This is a change of life for many of our employees here," Thrall said. "I'm not sure what's next for me."
The Karczewski family owns three Piggly Wiggly stores in northern Illinois including the ones in Antioch and Zion, which opened in 2004. Karczewski said he hopes to place many of the employees from the Grayslake store at his other locations.
"We have about 150 employees total in the three stores and we are like family," he said. "There are faces to these employees, you get to know their spouses and kids and this just really bothers me. We will do our best to find places for these employees."
Meantime, Vicky Kouantas, a spokesperson for the building at 815 Center street said while she wasn't able to get into specific details, they are "working on something else for that site."
The final day the Piggly Wiggly will be open is November 3.
Piggly Wiggly is a franchise, all of it's 600 stores across 17 states are independently owned and operated. Piggly Wiggly, LLC’s corporate headquarters are in Keene, N.H.