CHICAGO – Treasure Island Foods opened in 1963, when the Kamberos brother, Christ and Frank, along with some partners, founded the gourmet grocery store which imported foreign foods to Chicago foodies for more than half a century. After 55 years, however, the store, which had become a chain of seven stores total, is set to close all its locations on October 12, The Chicago Maroon, the University of Chicago’s newspaper, reported on September 29.
In a note sent to employees by the CEO Maria Kamberos wrote, the Chicago Sun-Times reported, “We have done everything we could to attempt to get the company on solid ground to try to operate for another 55 years. Unfortunately, given the current industry conditions, it has been impossible for us to continue to operate without losing money.”
Kamberos is the widow of the store’s founder Christ Kamberos who passed away in 2009. His Greek immigrant father had sold fruits and vegetables from a cart, Inc.com reported.
Among the fans of the store was the late Julia Child, the iconic American chef who called Treasure Island Foods “America’s most European supermarket,” which became a point of pride for the store, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Fans of Treasure Island Foods will have the opportunity to say farewell and save some money until the chain finally shuts its doors on October 12. A sale starts on October 1 with items discounted at 10-40 percent off, The Chicago Maroon reported.
Following the death of Christ Kamberos, his daughter, Christine Kamberos Matthews, sued her stepmother, the current CEO Maria Kamberos for “deliberately alienating her from her father and reducing her inheritance,” Inc.com reported, adding that the unpleasant episode did not affect the business and there were plans to expand to an 8th location last year. The new location plans were scrapped, however, and in September, the Lincoln Park location shut down, Inc.com reported.
A store manager declined to comment on the situation and “a representative from the Streeterville Treasure Island confirmed over the phone that all six remaining locations will close on October 12,” The Chicago Maroon reported.