CHICAGO (WLS) --Thousands of Chicagoans will now have access to a grocery store thanks to the opening of the Cermak Fresh Market on the city's Northwest Side.
The new grocery store opened Wednesday in the old Marshall Fields warehouse at Diversey and Pulaski.
Claudia Torres and her 4-year-old son couldn't be happier that they're able to grocery shop just blocks from their home in the Avondale neighborhood.
"It's hard to go grocery shopping," she said. "There's not really a lot of stores around here."
The new neighborhood grocery store opened Wednesday morning.
"They're going to get fresh fruits and meats and a great quality grocery store in their own neighborhood ending a food desert in the area," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.
The sprawling 70,000-square-foot store is housed in the former Marshall Field's warehouse. Customers seemed thrilled with the selection and the prices.
"I'm really glad because, oh my God, you can find everything here," said shopper Banitah Naba.
Aside from produce and traditional grocery store sections, the shop has an indoor cafe and multiple options for prepared food. The second and third floors have been transformed into an indoor parking lot with 700 spaces.
"I don't want customers to feel different that live in the inner city to have a different shopping experience that the people on the North Shore do," said Michael Bousis, Cermak Fresh Market owner.
Alderman Milly Santiago (31st Ward) said the grocery store created hundreds of jobs for neighborhood people looking for work.
"Over 2,000 people came to apply for only about 75 jobs," Alderman Santiago said.
"It's good here because they let me go in the mornings," said employee Janet Antunez. "I'm working the mornings, so I can still have time to spend with my daughter."
The warehouse at 4000 West Diversey Avenue has been empty since Macy's left in 2008 after taking over Marshall Fields.
Before that, Olson Rug and Carpet used from 1928 through 1963.
The grocery store and parking lot is just the beginning. The site will eventually include retail, residential and office space.
It's all good news to Sharon Daniel, who has is lived in the neighborhood for 50 years.
"Anything that's going to draw more crowds," she said.