The former Vic’s Pizza location at 2015 Peoria Road in Springfield is getting ready to reopen, but not as a restaurant. Bill Wiebking, who has an existing business called Countryside Closeouts, purchased the property in January and plans to open a retail store called Real Deals, with items starting at just 50 cents.
“I have three 35,000-square-foot warehouses and 100 storage trailers full of stuff,” said Wiebking. “This is going to be a great way for me to move a lot of items.” He noted that his warehouse and office are located nearby on Ridgely Avenue, but due to zoning restrictions, he is unable to operate a retail store from that location.
Vic’s Pizza closed in 2014 after six decades of operation on the north end, although the business changed hands several times throughout the years. After the restaurant closed, Marine Bank sold the building at auction, but the sale did not include the rights to the Vic’s Pizza name or the recipes, which were auctioned off separately.
Despite hopes that a new owner might reopen the local landmark, located on historic Route 66, it continued to sit vacant, and Wiebking said vandals had previously cut out copper pipes and damaged the roof. However, he sees a retail opportunity. “I’ve divided the space into three areas; we took the bar out in the front and that will be the 50 cent section. The other two areas will be higher-priced items, but everything is still going to be a great deal.”
Wiebking explained that while he will offer much of the same merchandise as dollar stores, he will be able to sell his items more cheaply.
“One of the things I specialize in is I sell by the truckload. Let’s say a load comes in and there are two or three cases of coloring books, I’m going to throw them in the clearance center for 50 cents.”
Wiebking said he is waiting on phone lines and credit card machines but hopes to be open by next week. “If we are able to do the volume that I planned, things will go well.”