Family Fruit Market set to close doors
by CYRYL JAKUBOWSKI
The Family Fruit Market store, 4118 N. Cicero Ave., will close at the end of May after 24 years because it has been sold to a developer who reportedly is planning to open a Starbucks coffee shop on the site of the store’s auxiliary parking lot at 4151 N. Cicero Ave.
Ron Presta, one of the store’s owners, said that he does not know what will replace the business.
"We got an offer from a developer to buy the business and the deal went through," Presta said. "About 3 years ago we started to seriously look at the offers after the business started to take a downturn."
A coffee-focused restaurant with a drive-through facility has been proposed for the site of the parking lot at the northeast corner of Cicero and Berteau avenues, according to Alderman John Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh. Sources familiar with the project confirm that the shop would be a Starbucks.
Arena will hold a community meeting on the planned coffee shop with project officials at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 26, in the club room at the Kilpatrick Renaissance, 4655 W. Berteau Ave.
Plans call for the parking lot to be rezoned from RS-3, which is intended for single-family homes and two-flats, to B1-1, which allows a variety of retail uses. The grocery store itself is zoned B3-1.
Presta said that rumors of the store losing business to the Mariano’s Fresh Market on Elston Avenue are untrue. "The entire grocer industry is changing in Chicago and in the suburbs, so you can’t really blame one grocer like Mariano’s because there’s just too many grocers in the area," Presta said.
Presta said that the store opened on May 6, 1992, in the building formerly occupied by a Saxon Paint store. He said that parking in the area has been an issue since the store opened, so the owners decided to offer fast service to avoid having a jammed parking lot.
Presta said that the area has changed over the years, with younger people replacing longtime residents. "I’ve been hearing about the revitalization of Six Corners for more than 20 years, but I’ve really started seeing something actually happening and progressing maybe 2 or 3 years ago," he said.
"I will personally miss is the relationships that you build with the customers and how you see some people grow up or even have children of their own." Presta said. "Many times we would have a regular customer who we wouldn’t see for a few weeks or months and then their family would tells us that they have either moved or passed away, but there was always that kind of a neighborhood connection."
"Our family was welcomed in this neighborhood over two decades ago, and we thank you for your years of patronage," the owners said in a statement. "It has been an honor to grow with this community, and we will profoundly miss you. With great gratitude, goodbye from your friends at Family Fruit Market."