Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the February 2014 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

The closing of the area’s Dominick’s grocery stores brought back memories of our history with large grocery chains.

A grocery store was vital to a new community.  When our homes sprang up from the corn fields in 1955 the early residents had to travel to nearby towns like Roselle or Palatine to buy groceries.  It wasn’t the most convenient way to shop but nothing else was available.

When the Hoffman Plaza shopping center opened in the summer of 1959, it had many of the stores that were needed by our pioneer families.  Jewel Tea grocery store was more welcome that any of the other stores except perhaps for the Snyder Drug store.    There was much joy in Hoffman Estates when the residents could shop close to home in their own town. Hoffman Plaza

Jewel has been in business for 115 years and our Jewel, although it’s changed locations within the Hoffman Plaza, has offered us wonderful shopping for the past 54 years.

In 1963 the Golf Rose Shopping Center was being built.  The addition of other stores and shops gave our residents more reason to shop in their own town.  What they really loved was the addition of a National Tea grocery store on the north end of the shopping center.  At the south end was a W. T. Grant’s department store. In between was a bakery, Golf Paint & Glass, Hoffman Estates Liquors and Balas Carpeting & Furniture.

The National had been in the Chicago area since 1899 and was well known to those who moved out from Chicago to buy their first home. But the store didn’t remain for long.  By the mid 1970’s, very much like Dominick’s, the grocery chain abandoned the area leaving close to 9,000 workers without jobs.

Another memory of mine is the A & P. It wasn’t in Hoffman Estates but in Schaumburg.  Although I live in Hoffman Estates, this A & P was located on Higgins Rd. just 2 blocks from my home in the Highlands.  It faced Higgins with the back of the store facing Golf Rd. It was there in 1965 when we moved in but I can’t recall when it left that location.

In the snowstorm of Jan. 1967, it remained open only because the clerks couldn’t make it home and slept in the store which was wonderful for those of use able to walk there to buy milk and bread.  This location now has the St. Alexius Medical Center, Binny’s and the New China Buffet.

With all the competition from these stores over the years, our Jewel continues on as the first and one of the favorite grocery stores in town.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian

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