Chicago, IL

Mayor Brandon Johnson introduces idea of city-owned grocery stores

Lashaunta Moore

Picture this: instead of a Jewel-Osco, Aldi or even a Mariano's in your neighborhood, there's a grocery store owned by the city of Chicago. It might be a reality for communities like West Englewood and East Garfield Park—where residents find themselves traveling far for groceries since stores in their areas have closed.

On September 13, according to a press release, Mayor Brandon Johnson revealed a partnership with the Economic Security Project to start on a pathway towards opening a municipally owned grocery store in the city. The goal is to provide residents with "convenient, affordable, healthy grocery options."

"All Chicagoans deserve to live near convenient, affordable, healthy grocery options. We know access to grocery stores is already a challenge for many residents, especially on the South and West sides," Johnson said. "A better, stronger, safer future is one where our youth and our communities have access to the tools and resources they need to thrive. My administration is committed to advancing innovative, whole-of-government approaches to address these inequities."

Residents on the South and West Sides have seen an increase in Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores but lost grocery stores like Save A Lot and Whole Foods. Earlier this year, Walmart, where many citizens shop to save money on food, closed four stores because they weren't "profitable."

Neighborhoods like Chatman, Kenwood and Little Village were affected.

The idea of city-owned stores is supposed to be an effective solution to fix the scarcity of grocery stores in areas like those—giving residents healthy food options without traveling miles away from their homes.

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