La Casa del Pueblo staying independent
August 6, 2010

Recent rumors in the community that Pilsen’s family-owned grocery store, La Casa del Pueblo, would be taken over by the Trader Joe’s national chain are unfounded.

According to Alison Mochizuki, director of national publicity for Trader Joe’s, the neighborhood store located at 1810 S. Blue Island Ave. is not a part of the company’s two-year plan.

Nick Lombardi Jr., vice president of La Casa del Pueblo, said he has not had any discussions regarding Trader Joe’s taking over his family’s store. His grandfather, Jerry, opened the original grocery in 1952 off Taylor Street; the store moved to the current site around 1958. His father, Nick Lombardi, Sr., currently owns the family run, independent store that employs approximately 50 people.

Trader Joe’s opened in Pasadena, CA, in 1967. The chain’s first two Midwest stores opened in 2000 in Glen Ellyn and Northbrook; today, the company runs 16 Trader Joe’s stores in the Chicago area.

Nick Lombardi Jr. said his family’s full-service grocery is evolving with the changing neighborhood.

“We have a good mixture of products, 60% of them Hispanic,” he said. “We also have an organic section, specialty cheeses, and a big Middle Eastern section. It’s a diverse line-up.”

The store is open every day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information call (312) 421-4640. Its website,, is under construction and should be up within a few weeks.

—Dolly Duplantier

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