Jewel Osco to open in Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood

FOX 32 NEWS - Woodlawn on Chicago’s South Side is getting its first new major grocery store in decades.

It’s part of a trend aimed at reducing the number of neighborhoods that don't have easy access to healthy foods.

“It's been a long, long, long time coming, but change is coming to Woodlawn,” said developer Leon Walker.

Developers, politicians and community activists celebrated Tuesday the planned opening of a new Jewel-Osco Store at 61st and Cottage Grove. They say there hasn't been a full-service grocery in Woodlawn since Hillmans' left 40 years ago.

“This represents making sure that all parts of the city, that a family that wants to value fresh fruits and vegetables for their children, do not have to  go out of their neighborhood to get a basic for their family,” said Mayor Emanuel.

“This is a neighborhood that has been clamoring for food retail support for a very long time. It's been sputtering in their efforts to redevelop the community,” said Walker.

The Jewel Osco will be built in an area that's already seen over 700 new residences along with new commercial development. The Obama Presidential Center will be nearby.

Backers of the new Jewel are hoping the grocery store has an impact similar to the Whole Foods that opened in Englewood last September.

“Whole foods is starting to trend upward right now, it started off really good, had a little lull, now it's picking back up,” said Perry Gunn of Team Englewood.

Gunn runs a non-profit promoting development in Englewood. He says it took a while, but Whole Foods has figured out what the community wants on the shelves. Shoppers seem to agree.

Jewel executives say that Whole Foods, just over two miles away, didn't discourage them from moving into Woodlawn. 

“We know that store is there, been in that store, it's a great store. But at the same time, we're going to have a better store,” said Doug Cygan, Vice President of Jewel Osco.

Jewel says the store will provide 300 new full and part-time jobs.

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