After weeks of speculation, Country Market closed earlier this summer, leaving behind the smattering of shops still open for business in the Sauk Trail shopping center looking like they've been abandoned at sea.
Byong Kwon, owner of Biwako Sushi, says that so far, business has been okay despite the closing--but "I sure hope the rumors are true and that something else like another grocery store goes into that space." Martin Ball, the manager of Mancino's, on the opposite side of the empty Country Market, says his sales dropped a bit, but "that could have been a normal summertime drop. It's picked up some" since. Next door, at the GNC Wellness store, owner Patty Palombit said business is fine. She too has heard rumors about another grocery store moving in but nothing concrete.
Both Ball and Palombit wonder if the landlord, Nadim "Ned" Hakim of Investico Development Corporation, has declared bankruptcy. An online search found no sign of that, but in August, calls to Hakim at Investico were met only with a voicemail requesting callers to leave a message, immediately followed by another recording that said, "Sorry, you cannot leave a message now because this user's mailbox is full." It's been full for weeks. One of the property's CBRE leasing agents, who preferred not to be named, said only, "We're looking at prospects to fill the space."
[Originally published in October, 2012.]