'Give us a chance': Englewood Save A Lot store closed despite soft opening after protests

Leah Hope Image
Thursday, April 6, 2023
'Give us a chance': Englewood Save A Lot store closed despite soft opening after protests
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A soft opening was held Thursday for the new Save A Lot in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood, but the store is closed after some protested the opening

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A soft opening for the new Save A Lot in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood was set for Thursday, but the store remains closed after some protested the opening of what had been a Whole Foods.

Instead, the staff was giving away some of the perishable items.

"Now, they put something in the neighborhood that we can afford and they're trying to stop it from opening. Does that make sense? It don't make sense," said resident Deborah Hudson.

"It's sad that it's not opening because I live like a half a block away. I can walk right over here and pick up essentials," added fellow resident Qwen Hughes.

Wednesday night, a rally of discontented residents led to the change of plan for the opening after they shared concerns about the quality of items a Save A Lot would offer.

RELATED: Englewood Save A Lot owners meet with protesters at a preview event, postpone store opening

"When people think of Save A Lot, they cringe. So when that banner went up, people were up in arms. I cannot believe we would go from one extreme to the next," said Asiaha Butler, with the Residents Association of Greater Englewood.

Joe Canfield is the CEO of Yellow Banana which operates several Save A Lot stores in our area. He said they delayed the opening to have more discussions in the community. He also explained he and his partners took over the stores a year and a half ago and they are working to bring up the standards and image.

"It takes time, that's why we are excited about that Englewood opening, so we can say give us a chance to get through this process and you are going to have something very similar to what you have in Englewood in your community," Canfield said.

Some residents in Auburn Gresham have been having a similar discussions about a Save A Lot opening on 79th Street.

Norma Sanders, the director of special initiatives for the Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation, hopes the community's voice will be heard

"We are not necessarily trying to shut it down, but that we are trying to get what we want and we need and what we deserve," Sanders said.

Alderwoman Stephanie Coleman said she is setting up a meeting with the leadership of Yellow Banana.

As for an opening date at the Englewood store, it remains unclear.