Long-time Chicago produce market abruptly closes after 57% jump in property taxes
Stanley’s Fruits and Vegetables, a Chicago fixture for decades, closed its doors for good this week, unable to navigate turbulent financial waters that included increased grocery competition and rising property tax rates.
The 11,000-square-foot store at 1558 N. Elston Ave. was a family-owned establishment that aimed to provide customers with the best seasonal produce buys, according to the store’s website. Panagiotaros family members managed the store, which was founded by Stelios Panagiotaros at another location in 1967.
Stanley’s Fruits and Vegetables remained open on Sunday, but employees coming into work Monday morning found the store locked, with a sign that said “Closed for Remodeling.” The sign also told workers they could pick up their checks on Wednesday.
A Panagiotaros family member told the Chicago Tribune that the store was closing permanently. The 1558 N. Elston Ave. property was placed on the market in the summer of 2018, suggesting that it could be redeveloped into offices, a hotel or residential units.
The property tax bill for the 2-acre site jumped 57 percent between 2014 and 2017, according to city property tax records. The annual tax bill was $9,353 in 2014, but three years later it stood at $14,695.
Family members told the Tribune that the store was suffering losses in recent years due to increased competition from other grocery stores nearby. The store offered customers organic and conventional produce from more than 50 Midwest farms, according to its website, but in later years other stores also began offering similar selections.
Stanley’s Fruits and Vegetables Tax History
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