Chicago alderman demand action after another grocery store closes on South Side

Several aldermen from Chicago's South Side gathered at a shuttered grocery store Thursday to demand changes.

"If their lease goes through December, why the heck are you closing it?," asked Aldermen David Moore, 17th Ward.

Aldermen stood outside a shuttered store in Auburn Gresham, fed up about food access.

"We have to get to the bottom of why stores feel it is okay to pick up and leave like someone didn't pay rent out of the city of Chicago's neighborhoods," said Raymond Lopez, 15th Ward alderman.


The Aldi at 76th and Ashland suddenly closed this month, blaming declining sales and repeated burglaries.

"This is one of the best areas in Auburn Gresham," said Alderman Moore, as he accused store officials of lying about crime at the location.

The Aldi closing follows the announcement that Whole Foods will close its Englewood store.

"We are saying that if you want to do business with the city of Chicago, you got to do right by all of Chicago, including Englewood," said Alderman Stephanie Coleman, 16th Ward of Chicago.

By the Aldi, there are other businesses, including places like Walmart to buy some groceries. However, Alderman Moore says residents don't have equal access to fresh food.

"In Naperville, there's one store for 11,000 people. South and West sides of Chicago, there's one store for every 110,000 people. That's not equitable and we have to have equity," said Ald. Moore.

Now, these aldermen and plenty more have introduced a resolution at City Council calling for a hearing to look at the city’s plan to address food access and store closings.

"The city of Chicago needs to have a consistent policy to handle this, and it does not. We bounce from crisis to crisis trying to figure it out," said Ald. Lopez.

But for people who live in this South Side neighborhood, the closings don’t surprise them at all.

"I'm a Chicagoan. African Americans have been here 100 years basically — it's the same ole, same ole," said Coyn Neal.

To change things up, aldermen are shopping for new grocers and ways to make them stay.