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Inner city residents irate over losing Whole Foods, gaining a Black-owned discount grocery store

Whole Foods opened a store with city tax breaks and encouragement and kept it open for six years in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood. Residents claimed the prices were too high. Whole Foods closed the location on Nov. '22 without giving a reason why. Save-A-Lot, which signed a lease for the property,, is a Black-owned discount grocery headquarted in Greater St. Louis.

The neighborhood was formerly a food desert but now has an Aldi and a community-sponsored produce market.The average annual household income in Englewood is $35,479, while the median household income sits at $23,019 per year.

The residents are irate they were not consulted in the decision. Some are offended that the chain is associated with low-income income neighborhoods and raised issues of cleanliness and product quality. They pointed out that you would not see a Save-A-Lot in Lincoln Park on Chicago's North Side. The average annual household income in Lincoln Park is $191,363, while the median household income sits at $117,251 per year

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by Anonymousreply 85February 12, 2023 5:59 AM

Reviews suggest Save-a-Lot is a dump but the chain owner vows to do better..

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by Anonymousreply 1January 27, 2023 8:58 PM

[quote]Some are offended that the chain is associated with low-income income neighborhoods and raised issues of cleanliness and product quality.

Call me boujee, but I would be mad as hell if they did this shit, too.

One of the biggest problems in lower income neighborhoods are grocery stores that sell poor quality and unhealthy food because, only the wealthy get to be healthy in this country. You'll also see liquor stores every block, but god forbid a Trader Joe's or farmer's market. It's on purpose. This is a bad move.

by Anonymousreply 2January 27, 2023 9:04 PM

R2 thinks money grows on trees and businesses are charities.

by Anonymousreply 3January 27, 2023 9:06 PM

If you've ever visited a Save-a-Lot, the stores are often dirty and the selection is quite limited. It will struggle to survive in an area that already has an Aldi, as Aldi offers a comparatively luxurious experience in the budget grocer category.

by Anonymousreply 4January 27, 2023 9:08 PM

damned if you do, damned if you don't.

This Save a Lot is BLACK OWNED and priced suitably to the neighborhood.

These complainers need to shut the fuck up about some imagined insult about the bougy Whole Foods cutting its losses.

by Anonymousreply 5January 27, 2023 9:10 PM

So they can shop at Aldi. Everyone wins. Except the black grocery chain that can't get its shit together and prefers ripping off poor folks.

by Anonymousreply 6January 27, 2023 9:11 PM

I can see how Save-A-Lot would be objectionable. I think the residents' attitude that a grocery store has to ask their permission before moving in and sign a community benefits agreement is problematic, too. it may be good customer relations but it sounds high-handed. The city is already paying the chain 13.5M to rehab its existing stores.

by Anonymousreply 7January 27, 2023 9:13 PM

Some of us have very few grocery options within a reasonable travelling distance. I'll be thrilled to have an Aldi's within a few mile driving distance.

by Anonymousreply 8January 27, 2023 9:15 PM

Me too neither, um!

by Anonymousreply 9January 27, 2023 9:24 PM

"Thes neighborhood has an overall crime rate of 9,551 crime per 100,000 people, making it twice the Chicago average. The violent crime rate in West Englewood is 2,773 violent crimes per 100,000 people, making the chances of becoming a victim 1 in 37."

No grocery is going to move into this area without city incentives. You can tie the crime to redlining and a lack of investment, but when a business is interested in investing, the response should not be "You're not good enough for us." It ought to be, "well, thiis isn't ideal but let's work together. Low quality isn't going to cut it."

by Anonymousreply 10January 27, 2023 9:31 PM

R2 thinks supermarkets are food pantries.

They can complain all they want, but clearly no one in the neighborhood was actually shopping at Whole Foods. Otherwise, it wouldn't have closed.

by Anonymousreply 11January 27, 2023 9:44 PM

How is the Ruth's Chris in the neighborhood doing? And the Salon Yoshiko?

by Anonymousreply 12January 27, 2023 9:52 PM

Or maybe the sales were good but the shoplifting was eating up the profits, R11.

I heard the Walmart in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Center in LA (previously a Broadway Department Store) closed shortly after it opened because of uncontrollable shoplifting.

by Anonymousreply 13January 27, 2023 9:52 PM

Why was there a Whole Foods there at all? I've heard that Whole Foods only opens new stores in neighborhoods with high average income, several years ago I heard the figure of 75K/yr average, it's probably up to 100K now. So what were they doing in a genuinely poor neighborhood? Publicity stunt? Experimental cheaper version? Wanted something so big from the city of Chicago that they were willing to lose money on a branch for several years?

I live in a prosperous town, and the Whole Foods here closed. In this case it wasn't because people can't afford to fill their carts with overpriced luxuries the way grocery stores need them filled, it was because people preferred the local co-op and family-owned local chain. WF lost the competition for the luxury dollar in my town, which definitely wasn't what happened in Chicago.

by Anonymousreply 14January 27, 2023 9:55 PM

Let shoppers decide.

If they don't like this Save A Lot company, then they won't shop there and it will close.

by Anonymousreply 15January 27, 2023 9:59 PM

I find Whole Food soul killing and inauthentic. I would prefer Aldi if those were the only 2 shops in my neighborhood.

by Anonymousreply 16January 27, 2023 10:00 PM

Stores don’t close just for shits and giggles. They were being subsidized by the city and still left. I guarantee it was some combination of low sales and inability to provide a safe working environment for employees. It says something when Walmart and Target won’t touch a neighborhood.

by Anonymousreply 17January 27, 2023 10:05 PM

Resident Association of Greater Englewood (RAGE) wants Save-A-Lot to break the lease and not move into the space.

Whole Foods promised significantly lower prices but they were not low enough. Other chains have not wanted to open stores in the area.

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by Anonymousreply 18January 27, 2023 10:06 PM

The neighborhood’s association acronym is RAGE?


by Anonymousreply 19January 27, 2023 10:31 PM

[quote]is problematic, too.


by Anonymousreply 20January 27, 2023 10:32 PM

[quote][R2] thinks supermarkets are food pantries.

Umm, no. They were receiving subsidies from the city to be in that neighborhood. I'm guessing it's a combination of a lot of different things:

1) They weren't making a profit due to the fact that too many people in that neighborhood don't shop healthy to begin with due to cultural ignorance.

2) They were hemorrhaging money due to crime

3) Thanks to high crime, their insurance rates were probably sky-high which most of the city subsidies went to in the first place.

4) Local vendors/suppliers were raising their prices due to inflation and combining that with everything above it wasn't sustainable from a business standpoint.

That said, I would still be pissed because at the end of the day, ignorant people in low-income areas always make things harder for the low-income individuals who do want to do better for themselves but just don't have the means to do so. The criminals and hoodrats keep the well-meaning low-income residents down, and the system can only do so much. THAT'S why I would be pissed. Because I know some slave mentality bullshit helped contribute to this in a major way. The system helps those who help themselves. Too many people in areas like this don't help themselves and hurt those who are trying.

This is why someone would have to drag me kicking and screaming at gunpoint to move back to the hood. I refuse. I don't care if I have to work 11 damn jobs and sell my ass on the side to maintain my peaceful suburbanite existence, I'm not going back. And it's because of unfortunate situations like this. These neighborhoods were built to be prisons, and too many of the residents help to maintain that destructive status quo.

/end rant

by Anonymousreply 21January 27, 2023 10:46 PM

Problematic is probably not the best way to describe it.

I think the residents have a legitimate interest expressed in an antagonistic and unsophisticated way. Anger is a characteristic response and understandably so but it's not going to attract outside investment.

This is a tough one to solve. Ideally, Chicago could write a check to lure a company like Safeway or Kroger to open a store but it doesn't have the money. Someone needs to ask who does and figure out what's needed to attract the kind of investment the neighborhood wants. Demanding the same stores as one of Chicago's wealthiest neighborhoods is a nonstarter.

by Anonymousreply 22January 27, 2023 10:48 PM

r22 Opportunity zones were supposed to be the answer to this, frankly, very complex and multilayered issue.

by Anonymousreply 23January 27, 2023 10:50 PM

R7 "problematic"

by Anonymousreply 24January 27, 2023 10:50 PM

If Whole Foods was making money at that location they wouldn't have closed the store.

by Anonymousreply 25January 27, 2023 10:54 PM

Exactly r25, stores that make money stay open. If they really wanted a Whole Foods store, they should've shopped there. NEXT

by Anonymousreply 26January 27, 2023 11:17 PM

Whole Foods wasn’t a good fit for the neighborhood

by Anonymousreply 27January 27, 2023 11:23 PM

Take the fucking bus to the grocery like MANY people have to.

by Anonymousreply 28January 27, 2023 11:25 PM

Oh! The underclass is dishonest, irresponsible and unrealistic?

How shocking.

by Anonymousreply 29January 27, 2023 11:36 PM

A broke ass Chicago neighborhood ain’t getting Whole Foods and the resistance to accept this fact just shows the disconnect from the reality that not every entity put into a bad neighborhood is a social service required to serve you.

by Anonymousreply 30January 27, 2023 11:37 PM

R30 is a moron who didn't read the link. It WAS a Whole Foods.

by Anonymousreply 31January 27, 2023 11:51 PM

R31 I do know it was a Whole Foods, and it ain’t coming back. SO THERE!

by Anonymousreply 32January 27, 2023 11:58 PM

I wonder how Food Circus would do there.

by Anonymousreply 33January 28, 2023 12:18 AM

Have they considered those fabulous Japanese food vending machines?

by Anonymousreply 34January 28, 2023 12:21 AM

Aren't there chains of dollar stores that sell fresh produce and dairy nowadays?

by Anonymousreply 35January 28, 2023 12:22 AM

I WISH there was a save a lot within 40 miles of where I live. The closest is Wal-Mart which is 20 miles away or family dollar. I'd be happy with Aldi too.

by Anonymousreply 36January 28, 2023 12:25 AM

R17- or too much theft

by Anonymousreply 37January 28, 2023 12:31 AM

A Sav-A-Lot SCREAMS ghetto and will bring housing prices down

by Anonymousreply 38January 28, 2023 1:00 AM

[quote]A broke ass Chicago neighborhood ain’t getting Whole Foods and the resistance to accept this fact just shows the disconnect from the reality that not every entity put into a bad neighborhood is a social service required to serve you.

It seems more like a moderate income neighborhood, not a broke ass one. Whole Foods would never have opened in a ghetto

by Anonymousreply 39January 28, 2023 1:01 AM

The median Chicago house price is 329K. The median Englewood house price is $148k. 77 percent of neighborhood housing is occupied by renters.

Only 13 percent of the households don't have vehicles so residents can drive to other stores.

Maybe the store should remain empty until the community comes up with its own solution.

by Anonymousreply 40January 28, 2023 1:22 AM

No R39, Englewood is definitely a ghetto.

by Anonymousreply 41January 28, 2023 1:29 AM

R41 they’ll see how moderate income it is taking a stroll after dark. Lol

by Anonymousreply 42January 28, 2023 1:30 AM

Don’t bring cash!

by Anonymousreply 43January 28, 2023 1:31 AM

[quote]Whole Foods closed the location on Nov. '22 without giving a reason why.

I can't IMAGINE why. It's a total mystery.

by Anonymousreply 44January 28, 2023 1:43 AM

[quote]A Sav-A-Lot SCREAMS ghetto and will bring housing prices down

So does the endless crime.

by Anonymousreply 45January 28, 2023 1:43 AM

Lol you know what screams ghetto? Not being able to keep a grocery store in your neighborhood.

by Anonymousreply 46January 28, 2023 1:44 AM

R21 "I don't care if I have to work 11 damn jobs and sell my ass on the side to maintain my peaceful suburbanite existence, I'm not going back."

Is your ass worth buying? Give us a look.

by Anonymousreply 47January 28, 2023 1:47 AM

Whole.Food.probably had to.deal with losses from thefts.

by Anonymousreply 48January 28, 2023 1:49 AM

R36, where do you live?

by Anonymousreply 49January 28, 2023 1:53 AM

So the WF prices were too high, and they complained. WF closed and an affordable store opened, and they complained. I sympathize that they're living in a poor neighborhood with few amenities, but this doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

by Anonymousreply 50January 28, 2023 2:55 AM

Whole Foods opened in Englewood in 2016 and managed to hang on for six years. It seems like the company tried to make it work, but the store was probably bleeding money for a while.

by Anonymousreply 51January 28, 2023 3:39 AM

Here's what the chain is planning to do with existing stores, combining its own funds with 13M from the city of Chicago. According to Yelp, it's like Aldi in that you bag your own groceries and there are mostly Save-a-Lot brands rather than name brands. The savings are substantial. Apparently, the meat is not all that great but the produce is okay. A number of customers complained that store personnel was rude. I can see how it would feel like a big comedown from Whole Foods.

Rather than insult this chain, work with them. Jeesh.

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by Anonymousreply 52January 28, 2023 3:52 AM

Save A Lot store are






by Anonymousreply 53February 9, 2023 9:14 PM

[quote] Whole Foods would never have opened in a ghetto

It did.

by Anonymousreply 54February 9, 2023 9:15 PM

Have you visited Whole Foods recently? A cup of grapes cost 8 dollars in that store.

by Anonymousreply 55February 9, 2023 10:56 PM

The major grocery chains do not want to move into that space because of retail theft and gun crime. It's not even attractive enough for Walmart to open a store. Last time I checked, higher-end grocery stores in your neighborhood are not a birthright.

There are multiple answers here--go to Aldi's. and the other grocery store in the neighborhood. Put pressure on Save-A-Lot, a city funding recipient, to upgrade its store. Get on a bus or use your car, which more than 2/3 of the families in this neighborhood have, to go to a chain more to your liking. Subsidize food delivery for the aged and disabled and farmers markets during the summer. Ask for increased police patrolling the grocery area to encourage investment.

by Anonymousreply 56February 9, 2023 11:16 PM

"I buy what is CHEAPEST!"

by Anonymousreply 57February 9, 2023 11:18 PM

I would NEVER shop at a store owned and staff with people like myself!

by Anonymousreply 58February 9, 2023 11:20 PM

I'm going to write a STRONGLY WORDED LETTER to be published in Groceries Today about how racist and hateful this is!

I bet Andrea Riseborough is somehow involved!

by Anonymousreply 59February 9, 2023 11:25 PM

These neighborhood activists are bullshit. City Council Member Kristin Richardson Jordan chased a development deal out of her Harlem district because she wanted the apartment building to be 50% affordable units and the developer only wanted to make 12% of their building affordable unit.

That space will now be a truck depot.

by Anonymousreply 60February 9, 2023 11:26 PM


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by Anonymousreply 61February 9, 2023 11:30 PM

The developer is taking another shot with 50 percent affordable housing.

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by Anonymousreply 62February 9, 2023 11:39 PM

I hope the new colored store will carry canned potatoes with parsley. They were a favorite of Ike and mine and they just aren't as widely available these days.

by Anonymousreply 63February 10, 2023 12:14 AM

I live near several Save-A-Lot stores. They're not *that* bad. They're just smaller format grocery stores, and they are seldom busy, so you can get in and get out quickly. None of them near me require you to use a quarter to get a cart or bag your own groceries. Some of them even have liquor stores as well, which are far cleaner and less seedier than going to your typical local state liquor store.

Their store brand products are generally sub par (pantry items, sauces, spices, canned goods, etc), but everything else has been fine in my experience. Produce is limited but fresh. Fresh meats are generally cheaper and they have an adequate frozen section.

I get the "stigma" with a name like Save-A-Lot, we had a similar problem when two Bottom Dollar Food locations opened up around here and didn't last long at all. They were actually even better and carried hard to find products that the larger grocery stores near me don't even carry.

If the residents are this irritated, why don't they push for opening a Trader Joe's there instead?

by Anonymousreply 64February 10, 2023 1:24 AM


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by Anonymousreply 65February 10, 2023 3:39 AM

[quote] If the residents are this irritated, why don't they push for opening a Trader Joe's there instead?

they weren't consulted... some paternal dogooders made the decision for them by ignoring local residents and thinking what does market research tell us black people want?

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by Anonymousreply 66February 10, 2023 3:42 AM

I’m shocked they had a Whole Foods to begin with. I’m in Southern Brooklyn and we can’t even get a Trader Joes and the median income is a hell of a lot higher than $34,000.

by Anonymousreply 67February 10, 2023 3:49 AM


There's that giant ass Wegmans in Brooklyn Navy Yard, how much more upscale do you want?

by Anonymousreply 68February 10, 2023 4:01 AM

So did those people expect to have a WF that charged .99 for a pint of organic blueberries while the rest of us pay 4.99? Look, you're low income. that doesn't mean you're getting fed dog food, but it also means there are certain things you can't afford and people have to get paid. I can't afford an Aston Martin, that doesn't mean I expect them to lower the price because I want one.

by Anonymousreply 69February 10, 2023 4:02 AM

Save-a-Lot is too good for them eh? Let them go back to lining up for government cheese.

by Anonymousreply 70February 10, 2023 4:33 AM

When was the last time you were consulted about a grocery store going into or out of your community?

Besides no one else wanted to move in there, according to the mayor.

by Anonymousreply 71February 10, 2023 4:47 AM

The opposite happened in South Dallas when a Sprouts grocery store was proposed to replace an aging Chinese Buffet and redevelop a large corner lot. The thoughtful proposal was deemed "too suburban" and rejected after numerous reworkings, none to the satisfaction of the commission.

The stated reasons were that the plans of the developers were not adhering to some 2006 zoning plans regarding the placement of the store. Another concern mentioned at the time was that the development would result in gentrification and that longtime residents would soon find themselves priced out of their neighborhood. "Too suburban" was code for "nicer than the neighborhood."

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by Anonymousreply 72February 11, 2023 5:49 AM

[quote]Ask for increased police patrolling the grocery area to encourage investment.

Black people are constantly complaining that their neighborhoods are "over-policed". That's how saints like George Floyd end up dead when they get caught stealing from a store.

by Anonymousreply 73February 11, 2023 8:39 PM

Save-A-Lot is TOO GHETTO for us!

by Anonymousreply 74February 11, 2023 8:41 PM

[quote]Have you visited Whole Foods recently? A cup of grapes cost 8 dollars in that store.

They don't cost nuthin when you steal it.

by Anonymousreply 75February 11, 2023 8:42 PM

[quote]I get the "stigma" with a name like Save-A-Lot, we had a similar problem when two Bottom Dollar Food locations opened up around here and didn't last long at all.

Not enough bottoms in the neighborhood to support it?

by Anonymousreply 76February 11, 2023 8:48 PM

They wanted a Walmart or another Aldi or a local chain, Mariano's. That wasn't happening. None of those chains wanted to go to that location. Now they're discussing calling Save-A-Lot something else. They're also angry that Whole Foods just left without a lot of notice or consulting the community. Whole Foods. which was there for six years, has no comment.

by Anonymousreply 77February 12, 2023 1:59 AM

[quote]They're also angry that Whole Foods just left without a lot of notice or consulting the community.

I'm sure Whole Foods asked them to stop shoplifting multiple times.

by Anonymousreply 78February 12, 2023 2:01 AM

Albertsons opened a new-construction, beautiful, full-service market in a bad neighborhood in downtown Long Beach around 20 years ago because the city provided unbelievable incentives. I lived down on Ocean Blvd. at the time and at least once a week I stopped there to pick up stuff on my way home. Within 18 months, it was a shit hole. By then the service meat counter workers wrapped up your stuff and walked it to the checkout because so many hoodrats stuffed steaks and crab legs down their pants and walked out without paying. Department by department closed (service meat and deli, floral, bakery, etc.) until the store closed in 2014. Now it is now an El Super market.

I would wager that Whole Foods claimed the Englewood store was "underperforming," just like what Albertsons said about their downtown Long Beach store. In reality, theft and vandalism did it in. You get what you show that you deserve.

by Anonymousreply 79February 12, 2023 2:44 AM

What’s wrong with Aldi?

by Anonymousreply 80February 12, 2023 3:12 AM

I love Aldi. I hear Lidl is even better, but I doubt they'll make it to the West Coast in my lifetime. Same for Wegman's.

by Anonymousreply 81February 12, 2023 3:57 AM

I wish the Whole Foods near me would shut down. I hate that place, it’s douchebag clientele and surly, pretentious staff and sky high prices for mediocre food. I’d welcome a store where I’m not made to feel like I’m not good enough to shop there by the smug, sneering, self-satisfied customer base.

by Anonymousreply 82February 12, 2023 4:55 AM

In a lot of cases, the thieves aren't living in the neighborhood, so it's not like the community is the problem. In my city we get a lot of large-scale theft at hardware stores, and nearly every time someone is arrested, it turns out to be someone from at least an hour away, sometimes even from another state.

by Anonymousreply 83February 12, 2023 5:19 AM

There are a lot of celebrities from sports and entertainment who come out of West Englewood. Why aren't they investing in these communities once they get out?

by Anonymousreply 84February 12, 2023 5:36 AM

Save-A-Lot is fucking GROSS. It's worse than a day-old bread store (remember those?). It's worse than a food pantry. It's worse than buying dusty canned goods from an overpriced bodega.

Shopping there isn't just atrocious for your diet, it's downright insulting to customers. They sell "frozen dessert product" instead of actual ice cream. They sell "assorted poultry parts" instead of whole or split chickens. They sell TV dinners where the label is primarily in Spanish or French, illustrating how the company bulk-bought discounted goods meant for foreign markets. And since they pay less than Burger King, good luck getting an employee to show up sober - or to show up at all.

by Anonymousreply 85February 12, 2023 5:59 AM
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