Washington Park Save A Lot closed after break-in

A Save A Lot in Washington Park has closed indefinitely after a break-in left property damage, owners of the store said Monday.

Yellow Banana, the Ohio-based owner of seven Chicago Save A Lot stores, made the decision to close its Washington Park store because of a break-in over the weekend that led to "significant property damage," a spokesperson said Monday.

The company says suspects were still inside the store when Save A Lot workers arrived the next day.

"It’s sad. It’s sad because how are the low income gonna get food and groceries for their family?" one resident questioned.

The store is just one block away from Parkway Gardens, which includes nearly 700 apartments for low income families

About two weeks ago, Yellow Banana — despite staunch opposition from some Englewood community members — opened a Save A Lot at 832 W. 63rd St., the site of a former Englewood Whole Foods store that closed last fall.

A sign at the Washington Park location directs customers to the new Englewood store, about a mile-and-a-half away.

In a statement provided to the Sun-Times, Yellow Banana said the store will be closed for the foreseeable future.

"Over the weekend, vandals broke into our store at 344 East 63rd Street, causing significant property damage and removing thousands of dollars worth of inventory," the statement said. "Several suspects were still in the store when our team arrived to open the next day. We engaged local law enforcement and are cooperating with the ongoing police investigation.

"Our top priority for this and all our Save A Lot locations is the safety and security of our employees and our customers. The store will remain closed as we work with City officials to address these security risks," the statement said.


Multiple people broke into the store by breaking the front window during the early hours of May 20, Chicago police confirmed. Police noted property damage and theft from inside the store. No arrests have been made as of Tuesday.

Yellow Banana received $13.5M in TIF financing, approved last fall by the City Council’s Finance Committee, to revamp five stores and reopen a sixth in Chicago. The now-shuttered Washington Park store — a seventh store — was excluded from that financing.

A spokesperson for the company declined to elaborate on the damage that occurred, but confirmed that the store was the only open Save A Lot under their company excluded from the financing.

The store in the Washington Park area was acquired by Yellow Banana through a licensing agreement with Save A Lot along with six other stores in September 2021 to help repair Chicago’s food deserts.

The company’s leadership has pleaded with the Englewood community, where its newest store is, to give the brand a chance to prove itself after years of "reputational damage," co-founder Michael Nance said.

According to the Chicago Health Atlas, over 65% of Washington Park residents have low access to food.

Patricia Elcan doesn’t have a car and lives in senior housing.

"There’s an Aldi a few blocks down, but I’m not able to walk down there because I have arthritis in my lower back," she said.

It’s unclear when and if the Washington Park location will reopen.

Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.