Save A Lot opens in Englewood despite community pushback

One week after a contentious community meeting in Englewood, during which some residents said they did not want a Save A Lot store, the low-cost grocer opened without fanfare Thursday on the site of the former Whole Foods store that closed last fall.

The supermarket at 832 W. 63rd St. saw several hundred people visit in the first few hours, Yellow Banana CEO Joe Canfield told the Sun-Times on Thursday. Yellow Banana owns and operates stores under the Save A Lot name.

The planned opening — originally scheduled for April before it was scrapped — has led to a months-long conflict between South Side community members who complain about Save A Lot’s reputation and the company that operates 38 stores across the country.

At the May 3 community forum in Englewood, residents and local leaders met face-to-face with top officials from Yellow Banana and said that the planned Englewood store was "not on the table." Speakers at the forum also complained about the company’s apparent lack of communication — which store officials disputed.

After getting the public feedback at the meeting — and apparently some from people who weren’t at the meeting, Canfield said — the company decided to open anyway.


"We’ve heard from a lot of other people who weren’t at the meeting but were a part of the Englewood community," Canfield said. "We’ve heard a lot of folks say that they want an affordable grocer to buy healthy products at. We thought it was best to open the doors and let the community decide for themselves on how they felt about things."

Canfield told the Sun-Times in April that the soft opening was postponed in order to "gain alignment" with the community and with Ald. Stephanie Coleman (16th).

"We want to win the community over, but we also want to be respectful of Alderman Coleman," Canfield said at the time. "She was elected by the citizens of Englewood, and we want to be good corporate citizens."

Coleman (16th) has supported her constituents in pushing back against the opening of the Save A Lot in her ward.

Following the community meeting, Yellow Banana leaders did not inform Coleman and said she only learned of the impending opening. They notified her the morning of the Save A Lot opening.

Canfield says 20 people, all from Englewood, have been hired to work at the Save A Lot, and that local vendors will be added in the future, he said.

So far, feedback has been "surprising," Canfield said.

"All that people have really said is thanks for opening the store — they’re happy we’re here," he said. "We have comment cards up front … folks have just appreciated that we opened the store so that they can see for themselves."