Residents Voice Concerns at Town Hall Over Save-A-Lot Store Opening In Englewood

A controversial decision to open a Save-A-Lot location in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood has residents fuming, and they voiced their concerns at a town hall meeting Tuesday.

Dozens attended the Wednesday evening at Kennedy King College and spoke directly to officials, including the company’s CEO.

“We agree we need a good grocery store at this location that will not tarnish all the hard work that we did at 63rd and Halsted,” said Asiaha Butler, founder and CEO of Resident Association of Greater Englewood.

“The City of Chicago should not have had to give you money,” added Albert Person, owner of North Lawndale Meat & Produce Market Owner. “I’ve never seen a business rewarded for failure until now.”

The town hall comes nearly a month after the store held a preview event, sparking a protest that halted the opening. Community groups and leaders say they felt blindsided and don’t believe the brand is the right fit for Englewood.

“The steering committee found that at various Save-A-Lot locations on the south and west sides had spoiled, rotten, and expired food,” said Derrick Warren, executive director of the Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation.

“We have a passion here,” said one resident. “We won’t accept anything less and you keep talking about ‘oh stuff happens, this happens, that happens’—it don’t happen in Englewood.”

The company’s other locations in the Chicago area also drew scrutiny, but officials insist they are working to improve the performance and the offerings at those locations.

“The biggest thing is the remodels of these stores will completely change the shopping experience here and that’s why we’re so excited because we know the value these stores provide,” said Leon Bergmann, Save A Lot CEO.

The panel of business leaders reassured residents things are different this time around starting with Englewood.

“It is the case that this store was brought to us because no one wanted to move into it and we did because rather than have a store, another food desert in a community that we do care about. We were committed to try to make it work,” said Michael Nance, whose Yellow Banana company operates several Save-A-Lot locations in Chicago.

Nance told NBC 5 no timeline or date has been set for an opening, but there’s still plenty of opposition to the move.

“I can’t force my community to take something that they don’t want,” 16th Ward Ald. Stephanie Coleman said.

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