IFF, a Midwest-based nonprofit, opened its first Save-A-Lot in the Ellis Heights neighborhood of Rockford, Ill., on Aug. 27. The newly built, 15,000-square-foot, $3 million store is the first of six stores that is being developed or financed by IFF through the Illinois Fresh Food Fund, a state initiative to increase access to fresh food in underserved areas. IFF secured additional resources from banks, foundations and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative.
"With the new Ellis Heights Save-A-Lot, the West End of Rockford will have its first quality grocery store in 35 years -- ending a food desert that has lasted for a generation," IFF CEO Joe Neri said. "This new store will be a hub for promoting good nutrition and better health, and serve as an anchor for additional investment in the community. Our thanks to the state for establishing the Illinois Fresh Food Fund, which has made this investment possible."
The store will offer fresh vegetables, fruits and meats in an area that had been designated as a food desert by the federal government. The store is part of the Illinois Fresh Food Fund’s $13.5 million commitment to develop or finance grocery stores in six neighborhoods. The fund also will finance improvements at the Save-A-Lot in Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood (now open), build a new Mariano’s in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood (under construction), build a Save-A-Lot in Waukegan (under construction), build a Farm Fresh Market in Harvey (ground breaking scheduled for the end of the year), and build a Save-A-Lot in East St. Louis (now open).