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The Schererville Omni store and the Omni under construction in Hammond will

join the rest of the chain as Dominick's Fresh stores.

Northlake, Ill.-based Dominick's Supermarkets announced Thursday it will

convert its 17 Omni stores to the chain's upscale Fresh stores during the next

eight months. Stores will remain open during remodeling.

The Schererville store's name will change by next week and its products will

be retagged. By mid-summer 1998, the entire store will be remodeled said Mark

Hussey, spokesman for the 105-store chain.

The Hammond store being built at 165th and Indianapolis Avenue will open

about the same time as a Dominick's Fresh and Drug store, he said.

The warehouse, value price, pack-your-own-groceries concept is being shifted

to one that is more service-oriented with trendy products, larger produce and

prepared food departments and expanded delis and bakeries. The stores also will

offer the chain's frequent shopper "Fresh Start" card.

The conversion of the stores is one way for Dominick's to expand into new

markets, Hussey said. Dominick's is the second-largest grocery chain in the

Chicago area with a 25 percent market share compared to first place Jewell

Foods of Melrose Park, which has a 35.6 percent market share.

"We were looking at building in as many good locations as possible, and many

of the Omni stores are extremely well located," Hussey said.

Prices will be comparable to other Dominick's Finer Foods stores, but the

discount pricing currently at Omni stores will cease.

A Fresh store opened in Chicago's intercity last winter is doing better than

projected, indicating Dominick's is on the right track, Hussey said.

But a smattering of shoppers at the Schererville Omni Friday said they

aren't sure they welcome the store's changing format.

Kim Griffin, 30 of Dyer, said she shops for her family at Omni because she

can save money on her grocery bill.

"There's enough stores around here where they'll pack my bags," she said. "I

shop here mainly for the price. I'll try it (Fresh store,) but if it's higher,

I'll shop around."

Sharon Grube said she's never shopped at a Dominick's Finer Foods or

Dominick's Fresh store, so she doesn't know their pricing.

"If I find the prices are too high, I'll go elsewhere," the St. John woman

said.

Wayne Baikauskas of Crown Point believes Dominick's is converting the Omni

stores to Fresh stores because of competition coming into the area. A new

Meijer Superstore and a new WiseWay are being built in Merrillville.

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