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The Chicago Tribune reports that Roundy's Supermarkets CEO Robert Mariano is considering expanding his upmarket, fresh food-driven Mariano's format beyond Chicago, where there currently are 24 locations and 10 more planned by the end of next year.

"Other markets are on the horizon, yes," Mariano said in a speech at the City Club of Chicago. “Where, we haven’t said."

The story notes that "in Chicago’s packed supermarket scene, Mariano’s seeks to distinguish itself with upscale offerings like oyster bars, vegan grills, gelato and patios where shoppers can dine on dishes cooked in the store. Bob Mariano has said that his strategy is to use these amenities to draw customers into the store, where they will buy the rest of their groceries even though other stores might have cheaper prices.

"In late 2013, the chain boosted its expansion plans when it bought 11 former Dominick’s locations. Last month, the chain said it had hired 8,500 people this year and was on its way to hiring 10,000 people by the end of the year."
KC's View:
I've been impressed with every Mariano's I've visited … in many ways, it seems like the Wegmans or the Price Chopper of the midwest. No reason to think that the format can't spread its wings and fly to other appropriate markets.

Except…I think it is fair to say that both Wegmans and Price Chopper have been judicious about growth. Mariano's management has to be careful not to breathe their own exhaust, lest they grow too fast to deliver on the promises it is making.