Mariano’s Grocery Store measures up
Mariano's has been praised as one of the most successful businesses to enter into a rebate program with Vernon Hills. | FILE PHOTO
Updated: February 18, 2013 1:16AM
Talks of renovating Westfield Hawthorn Mall are getting louder.
Much of the momentum comes from the village of Vernon Hills considering a sales-tax rebate program to nudge the mall into action.
The Mariano’s grocery store along Milwaukee Avenue was named one the most successful stores the village monitors for a rebate program. In total, Vernon Hills has six such agreements.
Sales-tax rebate programs involve a landlord or retailers asking the village for help overcoming a need. If approved, Vernon Hills would give portions of its sales tax revenue back for a certain period of time or up to the agreed amount.
The revenue given back, however, is only money generated in the applicants’ store, creating an incentive for the company to perform.
Mariano’s property owner, Bradford Reality, asked for about $1 million to go toward parking lot and utilities upgrades. As approved in Aug. 2010, Bradford will get 37 percent of the village sales tax generated in the supermarket for 15 years or until the rebate is paid.
After moving into the newly developed building along Milwaukee Avenue, the Mariano’s store took the area by storm, knocking out a competitor and requiring two parking lot additions.
“About 20 years ago, this Dominick’s was perceived as the place to go that had good choices but it eventually became more generic,” Vernon Hills Finance Director Larry Nakrin said. “There were a lot of studies showing that people wanted to eat healthy and Dominick’s got further and further away from that need. Mariano’s came in and nocked it out of the park.”
The Vernon Hills Dominick’s closed earlier this year.
“Mariano’s has gotten a huge thumbs up from this community,” said Carol Levin of the GLMV Chamber of Commerce. “They’re a company to watch. Their produce is fresh, prices reasonable, and they have incredible customer service.”
Vernon Hills Village President Roger Byrne and Village Manager Mike Allison agreed that a rebate agreement with Mariano’s was well worth it.
“They are the one company that might reach their rebate first, long before their term expires,” Allison said.
“With Mariano’s, it’s all about the experience,” Levin said. “They create a warm, inviting feeling from the front door on.”
Vivian King, a spokesperson for parent company Roundy’s, said Mariano’s is pleased with its business in Vernon Hills but does not want to be associated with “government subsidies” and emphasized their landlord’s involvement with rebate program.
Bradford Reality solidified a similar sales tax rebate program with Lake Zurich last week, which could mean up to $2 million in rebates for a Mariano’s store along Route 22 and Quentin Road.
The Vernon Hills Mariano’s was the chain’s second store.~.