SHOREWOOD – Kelsey Miller constantly raved about the Mariano’s fresh market in Wheaton, where she goes to college.
“I love Mariano’s,” she said. “I usually come in and get the salads ready to go.”
So when Mariano’s opened a new store Tuesday at 950 Brook Forest Ave. in Shorewood, the Plainfield resident had to take her mother to check it out.
“I was looking forward to it,” said Carolyn Miller, Kelsey Miller’s mother. “There’s just a lot more fresh stuff in the store. It’s like a convenience store and grocery store combined at a good price.”
The grand opening of the Shorewood Mariano’s attracted about 10,000 people Tuesday, said Amanda Puck, director of strategic brand management for Mariano’s.
“There is so much stuff here unique to Mariano’s,” Puck said.
Mariano’s is built on the idea of a one-stop shop, according to the company. The store includes a Vero Coffee & Gelato shop, Squeez’d fresh juice and smoothies bar, made-to-order meals including meat and bread and a sweet shop that sells chocolate-dipped strawberries and flavored popcorn.
The store has grocery items, as well as a pharmacy, bakery and floral department. But it focuses on regional and seasonal items including shore-to-store in 24 hours seafood and peak-of-season fruits and flowers such as orchids grown in Minooka.
Other features of the store include a collection of wines from around the world, a robust international aisle organized by country and a section reserved for a variety of olive oils.
Just eight months ago the Mariano’s location in Shorewood was a Dominick’s grocery store. But when Dominick’s announced it was going out of business last year, Mariano’s moved in to Shorewood along with 10 other locations in a $36 million deal.
“This has a larger selection of products than Dominick’s,” Joliet resident Rick Melfi said. “In other stores they have a slim selection. I don’t have to go to a second store for my shopping. Everything is here.”
Melfi also noticed the customer experience was more personal than Dominick’s.
“One of the things I liked was everybody greeted you today,” he said. “And employees were around to help you shop.”
Plainfield resident Keith Sydney said he will enjoy shopping at Mariano’s because of the inviting atmosphere compared to other grocery stores.
“To me the setup was very good,” he said. “The prices were nice and reasonable.”
Puck said the customer service and visual representation of the store were very high priorities for Mariano’s officials, noting that CEO Bob Mariano and senior executives were helping bag groceries and restock aisles Tuesday.
Carolyn Miller and her daughter bought several unique items from Mariano’s, including a gourmet maple bacon doughnut.
“You can’t really find these anywhere else,” Miler said. “I’m glad we have a Mariano’s here now.”