Walmart in Chicago's Auburn Gresham neighborhood reopens after being damaged in looting

A Walmart in Chicago's Auburn Gresham neighborhood that was damaged during looting in wake of the death of George Floyd reopened Wednesday.

The store was looted and damaged back in June, leaving the area barren for people who needed food and medicine.

The rumor was that Walmart wasn't coming back to Auburn Gresham. But, not all rumors are true as people lined up to get back into the Walmart Neighborhood Market near 75th Street and Ashland Avenue.

"That's what I kept telling my son and I was telling all the different workers up in there thank you for coming back. Thank you for being here cause I'm so glad they're here," said shopper Michelle.

It reopened for the first time since closing due to protests and unrest throughout the city, where several grocery stores were looted and damaged.

But 17th Ward Alderman David Moore said the police got him what he needed from the beginning.

"They got me the resources I needed quickly when they started looting so that it wasn't torn up so bad or burned down like they were doing in some other stores," Moore said.

Then the mayor got involved and talked to CEO. Betty Swanson was one of the residents who lobbied Walmart to buy into the community from the start and she knew they would return.

"Because they were doing good business here," Swanson said. "The community needed them here the community was asking them to come back to rebuild."

Walmart is also reopening two other stores that were damaged in the Kenwood and Hermosa neighborhoods.

Residents scooped up hand sanitizer, cleaning products and those hard to get disinfecting wipes. Meanwhile employees said they're thrilled to be back.

"It's wonderful," Walmart employee Brittany Williams. "We put in hard work to get it back in. We missed our customers. We haven't seen them in a long time so it feels great to have them back here seeing our community come back together."

And Walmart's CEO has said that they don't just plan to stay in Chicago they also plan to expand their investment. Walmart is adding some health facilities at some of the stores and expanding job opportunities.
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