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Save A Lot recently received a $13.5 million grant for stores in Chicago. The funds will be used to improve six locations and reopen another. Upgrades will include complete remodeling and improved lighting, signage, HVAC, and dairy and meat cases. The closed store at 7908 S. Halsted Street in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood is set to reopen by the end of this year.
Yellow Banana LLC, which owns and operates many Chicagoland Save A Lots, previously stated its commitment to serving food deserts in the area. Mayor Lori Lightfoot is a partner in their fight against lack of food access. She has openly criticized Aldi for closing its locations on the South and West sides of Chicago.
The Mayor said that Aldi should be ashamed of closing their South and West side businesses while leaving the North side ones untouched. “If your business isn’t succeeding, that is one thing. Come to us, and we will try to work with you to help support it. But if your business isn’t succeeding and you make what I think is always a tough decision to close, don’t blame the community and make them out to be thieves and worse because your business didn’t succeed,” she declared. Lightfoot closed by calling on Aldi to come and work with the mayor’s office or face “major challenges.”
Yellow Banana LLC cofounder Michael Nance spoke about his connection to the stores, “We know how critical access to high-quality food at affordable prices is in many of these neighborhoods — I myself having been raised in a community with many similarities — and we are honored to be able to serve them.”
He also stated, “By updating these stores both inside and out and continuing to source fresh, affordable food at prices working families can afford, we can deliver a dignified, first-rate shopping experience for local families.”
Yellow Banana LLC’s ownership of Save A Lot stores has been a fresh start for the brand as it bought nearly all of the Save A Lot Locations. A previous interview with its founders revealed their plan for community involvement. In addition to serving food deserts, they plan to further enrich the community through drives, shuttle services, and other resources to benefit their customers. They believe that by serving their community, they will earn that community’s business.
The CEO of Save A Lot praised Yellow Banana LLC, stating that they understand: “The unique challenges these communities face, and are committed and determined to work with each neighborhood to serve them in the best way possible by providing healthy food at affordable prices, and giving them a refreshed and improved Save-A-Lot experience.”
The founders of Yellow Banana LLC are relatively new to Save A Lot. They bought the stores in 2021. Despite its recent formation, Yellow Banana owns and operates six stores in Chicago, not to mention several in Cleveland, Milwaukee, Dallas, and Jacksonville. The stores in Chicago are located at 644 E. 63rd Street, 4439 West 63rd Street, 7240 South Stony Island Avenue, 420 S. Pulaski Road., 10700 South Halsted Street, and 2858 East 83rd Street.
The food desert issue in Chicago’s South and West neighborhoods has been a long-term problem. Many grocers departed the area and left little to no healthy food access for these communities. However, Mayor Lightfoot and Yellow Banana LLC. are committed to resolving the problem.
Written by Joseph Nelson
Edited by Sheena Robertson
Industry Dive: Save A Lot ownership group lands $13.5M grant to improve Chicago stores; by Pual Silverman
The Crusader Newspaper Group: Black grocer receives $13.5M city grant to buy Save-A-Lot stores
Supermarket News: Save A Lot operator readies Chicagoland upgrades
Featured Image Courtesy of Mike Mozart’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of A.Currell‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License