5 grocery stores bring food, jobs to South Side

February 24, 2011 3:20:59 PM PST
Despite the tough economy, Save-A-Lot opened five new grocery stores Thursday on Chicago's South Side in underserved communities.

The discount grocery stores, owned by chain Supervalue, bring food, including fresh produce, and jobs to the so-called "food desserts." They are located in newly-renovated buildings:

  • 82nd and Stony Island;
  • 79th Street near Perry;
  • East 63rd Street near King Drive;
  • 68th and Aberdeen;
  • and 67th Street and Western.

The stores mean fresh produce is now close to many people who were hard-pressed to find healthy food options in their neighborhoods.

"This is close. Now when I want something I don't have to run up to Jewel. This is good," Earnest Dooley, a shopper at the Avalon Park store, said.

"I've waiting a whole month," Cheryl Williams said. "A whole month."

Williams isn't alone. The store locations were chosen because the areas that had a deficit of grocery options.

"It's terrible to have a big neighborhood like this and not have a store. There are a lot of seniors in our area, so it's going to be so much more convenient for all of them. It's great," Julia Ford said.

"Every time you want something you have to get in the car for it. Now I can just walk around the corner. So it's fantastic," Nanna Sanders said.

The regional director of Save-A-Lot said the stores make sense to the communities they're serving- and to the company.

"Maybe they either had to go to the south to 95th or north up to 75th. So almost every customer has thanked us for being here," said Ron Munson, Save-A-Lot.

A nonprofit organization, Centers for New Horizons, offered input on the store locations and products to carry.

"The best of all possible worlds is that you can walk to your store and your store has good, quality food. And you can send your child there and they would know good, quality food because that's what your selecting when you go," said Dr. Sokoni Karanja, Centers for New Horizons.

Centers for New Horizons, www.cnh.org/, hosts field trips to educate residents about healthy food choices and showing what grocery stores in other neighborhoods offer. They hope by improving the quality of food, they will see better graduation rates and healthier lives for residents.