Aldi closes Auburn Gresham store

An Aldi in Auburn Gresham is the latest South Side supermarket to be closed by a corporate grocery store. Community members and local elected officials say they were not notified of the store’s closure in advance.

A company spokesperson confirmed that Aldi has closed its store at 7627 S. Ashland Ave. on June 12th. Block Club Chicago first reported on the closure on Monday.

In an interview, Chicago State Senator Jacqueline Collins, who said she learned of the closure of community members late last week, described Aldi as having “fled out in the middle of the night.” Ald. David Moore, whose 17th wing includes the closed Aldi, said he found out about a constituent closure last Monday.

Tim Thomas, a neighborhood resident who said he was the secretary of the 79th Peoria Block Club, learned of the store’s closure when he stopped in on a regular trip to the grocery store on June 12. “The gates around the parking lot were locked and we looked up and saw that there was a banner, or a big sign – the building is boarded up – and it said this place is permanently closed,” he said.

“We do not take the closure of this location lightly,” Aldi said in a statement on Monday. Aldi did not respond to a question about allegations from employees and residents that they had not received notice of the store’s closure.

Aldi cited “repeated robberies” and declining sales as justification for the store’s closure. “Out of concern for our employees and customers, keeping this store open was no longer a sustainable option,” the company said.

As of last week, the city’s reported crime data portal shows no reported thefts on the 7600 block of South Ashland so far this year. The portal shows seven total robberies on the block over the past five years, of which only two took place at a grocery store. The most recent robbery on the block took place in September of last year.

Aldi did not respond to a request for comment on the theft figures on Tuesday.

“You can always throw that away in a black community, because it’s just assumed that in a black community you have crime,” Collins said. “I want to dismiss that, I think it’s a fallacy.”

When asked about the supermarket’s closure at an unrelated news conference Tuesday afternoon, Police Superintendent David Brown said the department was “well aware of the historic crime in that particular area”, referring to Auburn Gresham, and said he had an “enhanced focus.” about violence and quality of life issues in the neighborhood. Brown also said the area saw “significant drops” in crime without citing a specific time period.

In its Monday statement, Aldi said it looks forward to “continuing to serve customers at one of our many nearby stores.” He provided a list of stores that are located more than 2.5 miles away from the Auburn Gresham location.

A Walmart Neighborhood Market is located north of the old Aldi in South Ashland. A Food 4 Less location is about a mile away.

This isn’t the first location Aldi has closed in a historically underinvested neighborhood on Chicago’s south and west sides. The company also closed a location in West Garfield Park in 2021. Earlier this year, city councilors authorized the city to purchase this property for $700,000.

In a statement, State Senator Collins called Auburn Gresham closure a “devastating blow to our community, which is already facing food insecurity”.

“We must work to provide market incentives to keep supermarkets open in underserved areas so all our neighbors can provide healthy meals for their families,” Collins said.

Moore said he would work with the property’s owner and the mayor’s office on the future of the former Aldi site. “We have to fight and invest in operators, store operators where we’re not just relying on big networks,” he said.

“This is a neighborhood that has to fight and fight for every resource it can get,” said AJ Patton, founder and CEO of 548 Development, which owns properties in the neighborhood and currently has two developments under construction there. Patton said he hadn’t heard that Aldi was closing until this week.

“To leave, without much warning, is a real concern,” he said. “If you have legitimate concerns that would make you want to leave, you should have raised them.”

Aldi said it has given all employees at the Auburn Gresham facility the opportunity to work at other locations “in the immediate area”.

the redhead The Gresham closure also comes a few months after Whole Foods announced it was closing its Englewood location, news that was a punch in the gut for the neighborhood. Whole Foods opened with much fanfare in 2016, when it was heralded as an attempt to bring high-quality groceries to a neighborhood that had long struggled with inadequate access to healthy food.

The city’s sale agreement with the Englewood site developer requires a full-service grocery store to be up and running in the Englewood Square development within 18 months of the store’s closure. In a May interview with the Tribune, website developer Leon Walker of DL3 Realty said he had been talking to “several” local and some national grocery stores about the operation on the Whole Foods website.

Paige Fry and Alice Yin of the Chicago Tribune contributed.

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