Grocery museum to open in Joliet, Illinois

The Local Checkout: The Planinsek Grocery and Meat Market Museum showcases importance of local grocery stores to their communities; IGA's John Ross is the keynote speaker at PLMA Show in November.
grocery store museum
The Planinsek Grocery and Meat Market Museum opens this weekend in Joliet, Illinois. / Photo courtesy: WGB

The Local Checkout

Grocery Museum

Here at The Local Checkout, I normally will include a new grocery store opening, but today I am leading off with the news that the Joliet Area Historical Museum on Sunday will open a grocery store museum.

Located at 1314 Elizabeth Street in Joliet, Illinois, about 40 miles southwest of downtown Chicago, the museum focuses on the Planinsek’s grocery store, operated by Emma and Martin Planinsek 

Kailee Lowry, registrar for the Joliet Area Historical Museum, gave The Local Checkout a tour and some great background on how this museum came about.

“The property was built in 1926 by Emma and Martin Planinsek, two Slovenian immigrants,” Lowry said. “Currently their youngest daughter, Irene Odorizzi, and her husband, Ken, own the property. In 2018, Ken and Irene reached out to the Joliet Area Historical Museum and asked if we would be interested in taking on another property and assisting them through the process of developing it into a house museum.” 

Lowry explained that the museum "focuses on the Slovenian immigrant experience in Joliet, their role in community development and their lasting cultural impact on the city through the lens of the Planinsek family.”

Grocery Museum

The Planinsek Grocery and Meat Market Museum will open on Sunday. / Photo courtesy: WGB

During the tour, Greg Peerbolte, executive director of the Joliet Area Historical Museum, shared stories of how instrumental the store was beyond its four walls and how the grocery store served as an anchor in the the neighborhood.

“Kevin, the son-in-law of Martin and Emma, told me that there was a Yugoslavian immigrant who came into the store in the 1940s needing groceries, but had no cash to pay the bill. In exchange for the food, he hand-painted intricate stencil art in one of the rooms that is still on the walls.”

Fast forward to 2023 and people in the neighborhood think the museum is opening as a local grocery store.

“We had someone come in this week while they were out for a walk with their dog and asked when the grocery store will open and if we will be selling fresh meat or just deli slices,” Lowry shared.

So what does Lowry hope visitors get out of the grocery museum?

“Nostalgia,” she said. “So many people have reached out to us in the neighborhood who have memories of this grocery store.”

And according to The Local Checkout research, this isn’t the only grocery store museum. There is Watson’s Grocery Store Museum located in State Center, Iowa. Watson’s Grocery opened in 1895, and the iconic landmark will be the center of attraction for this weekend’s annual Watson’s Fall Festival in downtown State Center.

Seems like stepping back in time isn’t a thing of the past.

Keynote at PLMA Show

The Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA), a non-profit trade organization founded in 1979 to promote the store brands industry, will host itsannual show in Chicago in November, and this year’s keynote speaker is IGA Inc. President and CEO John Ross.

Ross will speak at the keynote breakfast on Nov. 13. His talk is entitled: Economics, Global Retailing and the Opportunity for Private Label Growth.”  In case you are wondering, Ross is responsible for domestic and global operations for IGA, the world’s largest independent supermarket network. Mark your calendars!

Grocery pageant

This year’s Miss Food City pageant will take place on Saturday, Oct. 28, in Emory, Virginia. 

Miss Food City 2024 will be crowned to represent the company during store grand openings and other special events, including the Food City 300 and Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.     

“We appreciate each of our pageant contestants and feel they are to be commended for their many contributions within the community,” said Steven C. Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer. “It has been our extreme pleasure to have Alexis Ramsey of Oakwood, Virginia, represent our company during her reign as Miss Food City 2023. She has been an excellent spokesperson for our company.”

Thanks for reading The Local Checkout. Got an indie grocery story news item you think I missed? Email dadam@winsightmedia.com 



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