The owners of a new Save A Lot store in Chicago's Englewood community are postponing the opening to meet with concerned community groups.
The opening of a new Save A Lot in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood has been delayed, following a publicized protest. A group of residents and activists met in front of the store the day before the scheduled April 6 soft launch, questioning the store and its offerings.
The Save A Lot is replacing a Whole Foods Market location that closed last year. Englewood is considered a food desert, and has one of the highest poverty rates in the city.
The team at Yellow Banana, a grocery platform that owns and operates nearly 40 stores under the Save A Lot banner, donated perishables from the store’s planned first few days to local food banks and came out of the store to talk to the concerned citizens, who had been joined by some local politicians. Ultimately, they decided to postpone the opening to further engage with the community and educate people on the store’s assortment that is set to include fresh produce, fresh meat and seafood, baked goods and items from local and Black-owned brands. “We’re going to talk about what they’d like to see from us and how we can get things off to a better track so we can have a successful opening,” Joe Canfield, CEO of Yellow Banana, told local media.
Added Yellow Banana founder Michael Nance: "We are here to reopen this store to provide a service in this neighborhood. We've gotten feedback from that community. They want a meeting with Save A Lot corporate. We've heard that from them loud and clear."
Nance told Progressive Grocer in an exclusive interview published in March that the company was intent on being a partner with the community to offer quality products at an attractive price point and to hire associates from the community. “Leveraging the Save A Lot banner and price points will help us make this store a success and is consistent with the broader development work we are doing,” he remarked.
At this time, no new opening date has been set for the Englewood store, which is located at 832 W. 63rd St. on Chicago’s South Side.
Yellow Banana is a Black-owned business that is part of 127 Wall Holdings, LLC founded by Nance, Walker Brumskine, Ademola Adewale-Sadik and later joined by Canfield. The retail grocery platform was founded in 2021 and operates 38 stores under the Save A Lot banner across the Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Jacksonville and Dallas metropolitan areas. Save A Lot has more than 850 stores in 32 states. The Earth City, Mo.-based company is No. 60 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.