Black-owned grocery store opens in North Lawndale area after delays

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ByWill Jones via WLS logo
Monday, July 25, 2022
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North Lawndale Meat & Produce grocery store, a Black-owned business, opened near the Eisenhower Expressway after delays.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Residents in the North Lawndale area have a new place to shop for fresh produce and meat.

Margie Langston couldn't pass up on the convenience of North Lawndale Meat & Produce.

"I live on fifth and you can get here quicker," Langston said.

The full-service, Black-owned grocery store finally opened last week after months of delays.

The store, located on Pulaski just south of the Eisenhower Expressway, is still very much a work in progress, but the store's owner, Albert Person, said he's just happy to be open.

"[I'm] feeling excited," Person said. "It was a little bit overwhelming considering that we should have been open. We had some setbacks."

After the murder of George Floyd, Person wanted to invest more in his community. He settled on opening a grocery store, hoping to improve the quality of life for those on the West Side.

"Our goal is to offer people in our community the same wholesome and nutritious items that they see in other stores that are outside our community," Person said.

Communities of color disproportionately lack access to healthy and affordable food in Chicago.

According to the Chicago Food Equity Agenda, a plan released by Mayor Lori Lightfoot in 2021 to address food insecurity, Latinx communities and Black communities experience food insecurity at rates of 29% and 37.1% respectively compared to the Chicago metro region overall, which has a rate of about 19%.

To promote the store, the Dr. Willie Wilson Foundation is offering a limited number of $25 coupons to shoppers starting Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Person said he hopes to be a role model for young people in the neighborhood.

"One thing for sure is children are able to come in here and able to look behind the counter and see people that look like them," Person said. "Now they can aspire to want to be a grocery store owner or a business owner period."

Shopper Mark John said he wants to make sure this store is a success.

"It is always good to keep the money in our pockets too," John said. "I don't want to see another brother doing bad."