The Chicago Sun Times reports that a new Save A Lot store has opened in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, just one week after "a contentious community forum during which residents said they did not want" the store there.
The store is owned and operated by franchisee Yellow Banana, which took over a Whole Foods location that closed last fall.
According to the Sun Times, "The planned opening — originally scheduled for April before it was scrapped — has led to a months-long conflict between South Side community members who complain about Save A Lot’s reputation and the company that operates 38 stores across the country.
"At the May 3 community forum in Englewood, residents and local leaders met face to face with top officials from Yellow Banana and said that the planned Englewood store was 'not on the table.' Speakers at the forum also complained about the company’s apparent lack of communication — which store officials disputed.
"After getting the public feedback at the meeting — and apparently some from people who weren’t at the meeting, Canfield said — the company decided to open anyway." Now, a number of community activists are upset that the store opened without their input being taken into account for the store's operation.
The company says that "20 people, all from Englewood, have been hired to work at the Save A Lot, and that local vendors will be added in the future."
- KC's View:
This is a food desert, and even if Save A Lot isn't everything local community members would like to have in a supermarket, it is one answer to the problem of lack of food availability at a reasonable cost. I think that local activists would be better off being a little more conciliatory, and that maybe Yellow Banana has to be a little more accepting of local criticisms and needs.
This doesn't strike me as an insurmountable problem to solve - it just requires everybody aiming for the same goal, but also recognizing that there may be limited options outside of Save A Lot.