Staples office supply closed for business in Barrington this week but, as Alexander Graham Bell once said, “When one door closes, another opens.” Heinen’s Fine Foods, a Cleveland-based grocery business with 17 stores in Northeastern Ohio, announced today they’re opening their newest store in Barrington next summer. They’re moving into the space that Staples is leaving at the Shops at Flint Creek. Today I spoke with one of the two Heinan brothers who run the business to learn more about the store and their decision to choose Barrington.
The Barrington move is a bold step for the 82-year-old, family-owned company because it’s Heinen’s first venture outside Northeast Ohio. “It took us 82 years to get to 17 stores in Cleveland, so this is not about being big and fast. This is about being the best.” Jeff Heinen says their plan is that the Barrington location will be just the beginning of a multi-store expansion into Greater Chicagoland. “This will be a huge challenge for us and we’re not overconfident.”
The Heinens say they’ve been considering a move to Barrington for quite some time. Village planners first reached out to the business about a move here in 2007 and the brothers came to town to tour the space last summer. They considered two other locations, one in Lake Forest and one in another state, before deciding on Barrington.
Jeff Heinen says the new store will occupy the entire 33,000 square foot building space on the south side of the Shops at Flint Creek, plus they’ll be adding an additional 4,000 to 5,000 square feet at the rear of the site to make room for more storage space. They’ll begin construction on the interior and exterior redesign within a few months and plan to open for business next summer.
Jeff says one of the main reasons they chose Barrington was to be within a six to eight hour drive of their company distribution center in Cleveland. “We’re very different for the size chain that we are because we do our own procurement and distribution. That allows us to buy from people we want to buy from versus the typical model which is to buy from a wholesaler…We do have the advantage of being able to buy direct which many chains do not so we cut out the middleman and that helps us stay competitive.”
The Heinen brothers are third generation owners of the business. Their grandfather, Joseph Heinen, opened the first Heinen’s butcher shop back in 1929 and the say they’ve worked hard to continue his commitment to great service and the highest quality. “We do things that are best for the product versus what’s best for somebody else’s bottom line so we think shoppers will find our selection of produce and seafood and meat is something they don’t currently get as consistently as they might wish.”
And Heinen’s is bringing more than just their business to Barrington. They’re creating 80 new jobs in the process and plan to begin hiring locally sometime after the first of the year. Jeff Heinen says they see their workers in a different way than many big grocers who look at their employee base as a cost to be minimized. “You’re only going to deliver the level of service that creates highly satisfied customers if you have highly satisfied employees. That’s the cornerstone of what makes us different.”
“With the unemployment rate as high as it is, new jobs are important to grow our economy and this is a great opportunity for us.” Barrington Village Director of Economic and Community Development, Peg Blanchard, played a big role in bringing Heinen’s to Barrington.
She says she ran across the store when looking at revitalization projects several years ago in Hudson, Ohio. She approached Heinen’s and stayed in touch, selling Barrington as a great place to expand. “Here is a business from outside of our state that thinks Barrington is a great location to open up their flagship store…It’s a huge win for us, especially when there’s competition among the communities to try to get that new and exciting retailer to come to our community and, for them to select Barrington, we’re really excited about it.”
Peg Blanchard says Heinen’s “Has a country flair to it which is kind of cool. Their signage is very easy to understand. Their aisles are larger and wider. And I think the takeout, the meals-to-go, are really a positive. They have a sushi bar and the salad bar was huge. I’ve never seen a salad bar as big as that so I think it’s going to bring a lot of things to our community that people will want.”
If you want to learn more about Heinen’s, you can visit their website at Heinens.com. But they’re also really active on their Facebook page at Facebook.com/Heinens where they share specials, recipes, food prep tips and already have over 9,000 fans. You can also check out Heinen’s favorite recipes and video cooking demonstrations at YouTube.com/HeinensFoods. Heinen’s new address in Barrington at the Shops at Flint Creek will be 500 N. Hough Street, Suite 150. That’s on the west side of Route 59 (Barrington Road), just south of Route 14 (Northwest Highway) and north of Lake Cook Road (Main Street). It also happens to be right across the parking lot from my office at Coldwell Banker, so we’re as excited as ever to welcome this new Barrington neighbor :).