Whole Foods Englewood: Residents disappointed as grocer closes 6 years after opening in food desert'

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Sunday, November 13, 2022
Whole Foods Englewood: Residents disappointed as grocer closes 6 years after opening in food desert'
Whole Foods in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood on W. 63rd Street is closing after being open just six years an area considered a "food desert."

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It was six years when this store opened its doors in this community, which is considered to be a food desert on the South Side.

Now, its upcoming closure set for Sunday is leaving many customers disappointed.

The location is one of six Whole Foods stores being closed down nationwide. Another one on the DePaul University campus was part of those closures, too.

"It's just taking away from our community," said Whole Foods shopper, Tiffany West. "We'll go back to a food desert. People will have to travel far to get the food and things that they need."

The 63rd Street location opened in 2016, promising to bring healthier food choices to the area.

At the time, then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city committed over $10 million in tax breaks to help make the store a reality.

RELATED | Englewood celebrates Whole Foods grand opening

The new Whole Foods in Englewood will offer items unique to the South Side store, including banana pudding and bean pies.

"And, it was going to be a discount store. That was even more of an encouragement," said longtime Whole Foods shopper, Thomas Gist.

The only other grocery store in Englewood is an Aldi, which is just a few blocks away.

However, some customers said they feel let down.

"It was exciting when we received the news in the neighborhood that Whole Foods was coming. As you may know, there are not many grocery stores in Englewood, so to have a Whole Foods was a big thing and a big deal. And so, to hear of the closing very disheartening and upsetting," said Tiffany West, a Whole Foods shopper.

That reality, now shuttered for loyal customers like Gist, are left seeking healthier foods within walking distance.

"There are very few options in the community. There's an Aldi, but they have a very small selection," Gist said.

The Englewood store employed about 100 people.

A spokesperson for Whole Foods told ABC7 that eligible employees who wanted to stay with the company will be transferred to other locations. Those who did not accept positions were offered severance.

The spokesperson went on to say the company is working closely with the landlord to find another tenant.

That search, still ongoing.