Garfield Park Aldi's sudden closure leaves no healthy low-price grocery stores, protesters say

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Thursday, October 28, 2021
Residents say Garfield Park Aldi closure leaves food desert behind
Garfield Park residents say the sudden closure of Aldi left them without an option for better and healthier food in a community already reeling from lack of resources.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The sudden closure of the Aldi grocery store in Garfield Park has left residents without an option for healthy food, protesters said.

The residents gathered at Aldi's Chicago headquarters Thursday morning at California and Granville.

"So leaving in the dark of night is just a reflection of their attitude towards the community in the first place," said T.J. Crawford, Garfield Park Rite to Wellness Collaborative.

The group's protest was held after the Aldi store in the 3800-block of West Madison shut down a few weeks ago. 28th Ward Alderman Jason Ervin said the last day the store was open was October 15.

"There was no conversation, no trying to work through any challenges or issues that were brought about," Ald. Ervin said. "Just up and gone."

The group of protesters are demanding Aldi meet with local leaders and the city, sell the space to the community for $1 if they don't plan to return, and have the city work with other partners to bring another fair-priced grocery option to Garfield Park.

"We should not drive from here back to the West Side and count the number of grocery stores in this area and see a decrease when we get back to the area that has the lowest life-expectancy in Chicago on the West Side," said Ayesha Jaco, West Side United.

Aldi officials responded in a statement, saying the decision to close this location was due to quote "Poor sales performance and increased expenses."

"We shopped there regularly," retorted Martin Coffer, a protester who lives in Garfield Park. "But now, again, where are we going to shop?"

There's still no word on what will come of the Aldi's former location, which means the only major supermarket in the community is the Save-A-Lot on South Pulaski Road. The nearest Aldi stores are all more than a mile away in Cicero and West Humboldt Park.