Downers Grove mayor trying to keep Sara Lee from leaving

October 7, 2011

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The mayor of Downers Grove says he's trying to keep Sara Lee's headquarters in the west suburban village.

Sara Lee officials have been pretty quiet about relocating. But that all changed recently and a spokesman now says Sara Lee is thinking of moving to another suburb or downtown Chicago. The relocation would come after it splits into two companies, scheduled for next year.

Sara Lee has been based in Downers Grove for six years. The town's mayor, Martin Tully, said Friday that it's been worth it.

"Some people would say, 'Would you be upset if you only had Michael Jordan on your team for six years as opposed to 16?' I think a lot of people would take that six years and be very happy about it," he said.

Tully said he's putting together an incentives package to try to keep Sara Lee there, but it's hard because he doesn't know what offshoots of the new Sara Lee will look like.

Jon Harris, a Sara Lee spokesman, said a downtown location would be good for the new meat-focused company, while Sara Lee would still use its research and development center currently based in Downers Grove. The other company will focus on coffee and tea.