‘It’s about discrimination’: South Side aldermen upset grocery store closings them without fresh food options

CHICAGO (CBS) — A big push to address food insecurity in Chicago.

Aldermen are calling the exodus of certain stores in their neighborhoods discriminatory. They are now coming together to demand solutions.

CBS 2’s Steven Graves tells us how ultimately, neighbors are the ones who are suffering.

When grocery stores close on the South Side, community-led markets like on in Englewood become essential.

“It’s just important for people to know there are places like this to use your LINK card.”

The sudden shuttering of ALDI in Auburn Gresham leaves community outreach worker Elida Benavides baffled.

“Where do we go? The groceries are so important to the neighborhood,” Elida Benavides said.

Thursday, fed-up South Side aldermen calling the move part of a disinvestment pattern by corporations.

“It was unfair. It was unthoughtful.”

After Englewood’s Whole Foods announced closing in April16th Ward Alderman Stephanie Coleman said she’s still unclear on when the doors will shut.

David Moore (17th) claimed to have helped ALDI with security and retail, before it shut down last week due to what it called “poor sales and repeated crime.”

“It’s about discrimination. If their lease goes to December, why are the heck are closing it,” asked Moore.

Last year, an ALDI in West Garfield Park also abruptly closed. Aldermen’s’ answer to stopping this is to ask questions at a hearing.
Testimony from city agencies in front of City Council to address private/public partnerships in food desert risk areas.

“If there’s a breakdown in that relationship, we need to fix it and we need to do it quick,” said Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th.)

The crackdown coming as some residents said the Alderman could have done more.

“We’re talking all the time. This Englewood five, we’re totally involved,” Moore said.

“We have to walk that fine line because the same people who say we don’t do enough, will be the same ones who say we’re doing too much when we try to inject ourselves and try to be helpful,” Lopez added.

Thursday, people still stopped by wishing the store at 76th and Ashland was open.

One noticeable sight, the sign here that said “permanently closed” is now gone. What does that mean, if anything? Alderman Moore hopes to find out at a meeting with ALDI later this month.

As neighbors watch and wonder if their grocery store is next. CBS 2 reached out to Aldi and Whole Foods for their responses to all of the issues raised at today’s press conference CBS 2 has yet to hear back.

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