As a teenager, Colin Brown worked as a bagger at Blue Goose Market in St. Charles.
Brown, who grew up in St. Charles and lives in Batavia, was reminiscing about those days March 6 as the store prepared to close its doors after more than 90 years in business.
“My first real job was working here at the other location on Illinois Avenue,” Brown said. “It was a great grocery store and sort of an institution. The big chain stores aren’t quite the same. It will be missed.”
With the store’s shelves now bare because of the deep discounts being offered in the past several weeks, Blue Goose closed earlier than usual on Sunday. But Blue Goose Market President and CEO Paul Lencioni welcomed customers to sit around the store’s wine bar.
In 1928, Annunciata “Nancy” Lencioni, his great-grandmother, opened the Blue Goose Fruit Market. Blue Goose had been at different locations around the city and moved to its current location at 300 S. Second St. in downtown St. Charles in 2008.
West Chicago resident Mary Weyrauch has been shopping at Blue Goose since the 1960s.
“My mom used to shop at Blue Goose when it was down on Route 64,” she said. “It’s just kind of breaking my heart that it is closing. My mom passed six years ago and I kept going to the store because it was her favorite place to go. I even used to give her gift certificates for Christmas to the store because she just loved it that much.”
Weyrauch liked the fact that she felt at home in the store.
“It’s just one of those last kind of really homey, family oriented, mom-and-pop kind of places,” she said. “Even though they had modernized, you still felt like it was kind of old school. And that’s what I liked about it. And the store had just a really great staff. Everybody was always very helpful and really nice to talk to. I’m going to definitely miss them in the area.”
Lencioni announced last month that the store was closing. He said a number of factors contributed to the store’s closing, including the pandemic and supply chain issues. And like other businesses across the nation, Blue Goose was experiencing an employee shortage.
“When you’re small, you just are what you are,” Lencioni has said. “I’m sure things are going to be great in the supermarket industry after everything fixes itself. But you don’t have any safety net when you’re small.”
As far as what will replace the Blue Goose, Lencioni said he has been actively working to “find somebody to bring into town that’s going to do a good job, that understands what it takes to be a part of St. Charles and to be successful.”
“I’m just looking for the right ingredient to add that is going to solidify this next era in St. Charles,” he said.
Source: The Daily Chronicle