Dick Gromer's late father introduced Elgin grocery shoppers to self-service in 1936. In 1961 the "Elgin Gromer Super Markets" name was registered.
In 1962 it was registered as the "Hanover [Park] Gromer Super Markets." Then in 1963 it was reregistered again as Gromer Super Markets, Inc.
Dick Gromer had checkout scanners installed in 1977, when only about 300 stores in North America had the price-reading computers. Dick's son, Gordon, brought 24-hour shopping and an instore salad bar to the stores. Gromer's opens a supermarket in Clock Tower Plaza in Elgin, IL in 1988 and closed thiat store one year later in 1989. Gromer's supermarket in Wing Park Shopping Center, Elgin, IL is closed in 1995.
Chicago Tribune - October 13, 1988
24-Hour Restaurant. Is Just Part Of The Food Service In New Supermarket.
Back in the 1950s, when most markets were small neighborhood grocery stores with some just beginning to be called "super," Richard Gromer installed a bakery in his Elgin food store. Since then he has kept attuned to supermarket trends and was among the first local grocers to add such things as a salad bar and taco bar. When video rental parlors became popular, he put 2,000 movie titles on the shelves at his present 50,000-square-foot supermarket in the Wing Park Shopping Center in northwest Elgin.
So when the 24-hour-day, 7-day-a-week, 63,000-square-foot Gromer Super Market opens later this month in a shopping center on the site of the old Elgin National Watch Company, it will offer another added feature; a 185-seat, round-the-clock restaurant. "Restaurants in supermarkets are not unknown in other parts of the country," said Gromer, president of Gromer Super Markets Inc., "but there are very few in the Chicago area."
The restaurant, designed to reflect the style of the famous watch factory with wood and brass trimmings, vaulted ceiling and photos of the historic timepiece manufacturer, will be buffet style. A full kitchen, much of it open to public view, will service the restaurant on one side and a supermarket deli on the other with hot and cold meals to take out. "We have the ingredients if people want to fix their own food at home; we have hot food already prepared that they can take out and eat; and now we have a restaurant where they can come in, sit down and eat right here," Gromer said.
Gromer operates the Library restaurant, downtown at 50 N. Spring St., on the site of the old Elgin public library, and an adjunct eatery called the Archives. He and a partner were the developers of the 22-store Clock Tower Plaza shopping center at 100 National St., in southeast Elgin. Installing a cafeteria-style restaurant in a supermarket was an outgrowth of the popularity of the salad and taco bars and the deli in his present store, Gromer said.
"We had a complementary coffee shop with a couple of tables, and in the summer we put up some umbrella tables outside where we were selling ice cream cones. But people were buying salads or getting hot food from the deli and sitting at the tables to eat it. That`s how ideas are born." The restaurant, which has been issued a liquor license, will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night snacks, "anything people want to buy," he said. `It will be the only 24-hour restaurant around. The only question we have is just what kind of business we`ll have between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m."
Gromer`s new store also will contain a bakery, a smokehouse and sausage-making facility and a fresh seafood counter.
"We have plenty of competition," Gromer said. "Dominick`s, Jewel, Eagle. But we can go toe to toe with the competition any day."
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