An excited crowd gathered outside the new Heinen’s Fine Foods store when they opened their doors for business in Barrington this week. Alongside Barrington Village President, Karen Darch, the twin brothers who own the company, Jeff & Tom Heinen, each used a chopping block and a butcher knife to cut the ribbon before the grand opening, a tradition in honor of their grandfather, Joe Heinen.
Joe Heinen started the family business when he opened a butcher shop in the Cleveland area back in 1929. His family has carried on his legacy, with today being Heinen’s 18th grocery store opening and their first new store outside the greater Cleveland area. Just before they cut the ribbon today, Tom Heinen said the group gathered outside Barrington could be the biggest crowd they’ve ever had at a Heinen’s grand opening.
Jeff Heinen says their grandfather would have been very proud of the store opening in Barrington today. “I think he’d be pretty happy. All these people and 80+ years…”
“It’s a big deal for our company, in a narrow sense, because of the hundreds of people who allowed this to happen and got this done in four-and-a-half months. But it’s also a huge thing for Heinen’s to go outside of Ohio and outside of Cleveland. So it’s a major step for us. But it’s a step we think we’re ready to make as a company and we’re really excited to be in Barrington, in particular, and Chicago in general.”
We could feel the buzz of excitement as the first shoppers entered the store. They were sampling foods as they filled their carts, stopping to chat with friends and neighbors.
“It’s like Candyland. It’s eye candy everywhere. Great food, great prices, the produce is popping and it’s just really cool.” Courtney Nisbet lives in the Village of Barrington and says shopping here is going to save her time. “I can run out my door and be at a high-end grocery store within two minutes. I can walk here. I can send my 11-year-old here on her bike. It’s just going to be a lot easier for me to access good, natural, fresh, organic food in my neighborhood.”
Barrington Area Conservation Trust President, Mary Bradford-White, was another one of Heinen’s first shoppers. “I’ve been counting the days.” She says she’s been eager to see whether Heinen’s will meet all of her food shopping needs. “When I shop for groceries, I have a circuit of about five places I usually have to go to get everything I want. I just went from case to case and they have everything…”
“…I have not seen fish this fresh since the last time I was on the coast. It’s all here, it’s all incredible quality and it’s stunning.”
Mary was one of many working moms who were among the new store’s first shoppers. Kristin Frazier is the special events manager for Hospice Foundation of Northeastern Illinois and says “I’m excited about their prepared foods. They have a lot of meals that they’ve cooked 75% of the way and you just pop it in the oven to finish it off at home. It’ll make life easier, as a working mom, when it comes to dinner time. I can come home and not have to slave away in the kitchen. I can spend more time with my family.”
We found as many men as women in the aisles. Barrington Village Trustee, Jim Daluga, told us we’ll likely run into him shopping in Heinen’s meat and seafood departments. “I like to grill and there are so many items in the meat department that go from here right on the grill. It’s going to mean I can have dinner ready by 6:30 and everybody will love it!”
And we were so happy to bump into Hands of Hope founder, Vicky Wauterlek, by the milk and Cheerios. Vicky has lived in the Barrington area for 36 years and says this new grocery store has been a “long time coming”.
“You feel good about coming in here. It’s beautiful, it’s new, it’s clean, there’s a lot of enthusiasm and great quality. People in this community like quality and I think a lot of people have been going outside Barrington to purchase groceries. Heinen’s will bring people back into the community. This is a good day for Barrington.”
Tom Heinen says they’ll be working hard to meet shoppers’ needs here and says opening the Barrington store is a big part of their plans for the future.
“Clearly we did not come here with the idea of building one store. We came here with the idea that we’re going to be in the market. We don’t want to have the most stores in the market. That’s never going to be our goal. But we want to have the best stores in the market. And I think there are all kinds of opportunities with the fourth generation coming up in our family.”
You’ll find the new Heinen’s Fine Foods store at the Shops at Flint Creek, 500 N. Hough Street, in Barrington, Illinois. They’re now open from 8:00 a.m. To 8:30 p.m., 7 days a week. Click HERE to follow them on Facebook or find them online at HeinensBarrington.com.