BACK OF THE YARDS — Discount retailer Marshalls is slated to close two South Side stores in the coming weeks, the latest closures to hit Chicago’s neighborhoods.
The Marshalls at 1422 W. 47th St. in Back of the Yards and the store at 11620 S. Marshfield Ave. in Morgan Park will close soon, a Marshalls sales associate confirmed Monday.
The Back of the Yards location is expected to close Saturday, with the Morgan Park location closing shortly after, the associate said.
The closure is hitting Morgan Park’s Marshfield Plaza especially hard. Target announced it would be closing one of its stores in the plaza late last year, and Marshalls will leave another vacancy. Target is also closing its Chatham store on the city’s South Side in February.
For the past six months, Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) has worked to try to prevent “the impending closing” of the Marshalls at Bishop Plaza in Back of the Yards, he told Block Club Chicago.
“Their lease was tied to having a grocery store located within the plaza as well,” Lopez said. “Unfortunately, when the neighborhood Walmart closed over a year ago [in 2017] that put us in a bit of a bind to try to find a suitable grocery store tenant to keeping Marshalls inside the plaza.”
Lopez said he worked with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Department of Planning and Development Commissioner David Reifman to talk to numerous grocery chains to attract them to the shopping center.
“Unfortunately, because of the current climate when it comes to grocery retail and a number of class action lawsuits within that industry, most if not all grocers were uninterested opening in a new market despite the high amount of customers that are in the area,” the alderman said.
Owners of the Back of the Yards Marshalls store, which has been in the neighborhood for a decade, decided to use the no-grocer clause in the their lease and close the store, Lopez said.
“Anytime you see a reduction in the amount of economic activity in the area, it’s never a good thing,” Lopez said.
The move to close the store comes as the retailer assesses its real estate strategies, a spokeswoman said.
All associates working in regular, non-temporary positions will be offered jobs at nearby store locations.
“Chicago remains a very important market for us. We appreciate the loyalty of our Marshalls customers and believe they will continue to find great values at our other Marshalls Chicago store locations, five of which are located nearby on the South Side,” the Marshalls spokeswoman said.
Southwest Side Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th) called the South Side closings “devastating to these communities.”
“I was never contacted by Marshalls, city officials were never contacted saying, ‘Hey, we have a problem in Back of the Yards, or Morgan Park,” O’Shea said. “If they reached out to us, we could have worked out what the issue is, we never got that phone call.”
The Marshalls in Marshfield Plaza is located just outside of O’Shea’s 19th Ward, but many his constituents in Beverly, Morgan Park and Mt. Greenwood have supported stores at the plaza, he said.
“It’s a disappointment,” he said.
While companies like Target and Marshalls are closing stores in South Side “communities of color,” the alderman said, retailers like Old Navy are “working as our partners and opening up stores” in these areas.
“It’s frustrating when communities lose quality businesses like this. When strip malls go from having A-list operators to B-list operators, it’s difficult for them to survive,” O’Shea said. “Target and Marshalls turned their backs on these communities.”
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