Chicago, IL

Small Businesses in Chicago's Andersonville Band Together to Prevent Foxtrot Store From Opening

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

Foxtrot wants to open convenience store in former Reza's restaurant, but after over 40 business owners opposed the option, landlord considering other tenants

Foxtrot's plan to establish itself in Andersonville faces strong opposition from local small business owners who believe another chain in the neighborhood could harm local shops further.

The Chicago-based upscale convenience store, Foxtrot, is eyeing the former Reza's restaurant space on Clark Street, sparking a fierce backlash from neighboring businesses, especially Ándale Market. Mia Sakai, owner of Ándale Market, is personally concerned about Foxtrot's move, citing instances where Foxtrot staff shopped at her store, stocked the same products, and contracted with the same vendors, undermining her business.

Mia Sakai spearheaded an effort to rally the business community against Foxtrot's plan. A letter opposing Foxtrot has been signed by 41 small business owners, representing 35 local businesses, reflecting the unified stance against the chain's entry. The opposition argues that Foxtrot offers nothing new and poses a threat to the diverse community already offering various services.

Foxtrot's interest comes amidst a trend of notable chain stores entering Andersonville, causing a tipping point in a neighborhood deeply committed to the "shop local" ethos. Lynn Mooney, co-owner of Women & Children First, highlights how money spent in chain stores doesn't stay in the community, impacting local businesses.

While other chain stores faced backlash, Foxtrot poses a unique threat by directly competing with established businesses selling similar products. Ándale, known for its curated items, has experienced Foxtrot replicating its offerings after employees visited Sakai's store.

The opposition has already seen potential results, with the owner of the former Reza's building considering other options. Foxtrot's actions, including exploiting ideas from local businesses, have sparked a battle beyond business survival, raising concerns about the independent nature of the neighborhood.

Local businesses are not only rallying against Foxtrot but also pushing for legislative support. A letter to city officials requests rejection of Foxtrot's liquor and outdoor seating permits and the development of laws regulating chain stores' presence in the Andersonville business district.

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