SOUTH SHORE — The new Local Market in Jeffery Plaza was supposed to open last week, but city officials said they’re still waiting on parent company Shop and Save to submit all the required materials for its licensing application.
Local Market, 7131 S. Jeffery Blvd., “has initiated the licensing process,” according to Isaac Reichman, a spokesperson with the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, but they’re still waiting for all the necessary paperwork.
“Once the materials are fully submitted and they pass a health inspection, we can issue the license immediately,” Reichman said in an email.
A Shop and Save spokesperson denied the city’s claims, saying all materials have been submitted. He hung up when asked for further detail.
“The delays are that [the city] didn’t approve us for everything, so we’re working on some things,” said a Shop and Save representative named Rory who declined to share his full name or position.
Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) said Nov. 4 that the grocery store “should be open in two weeks,” a deadline Rory said the company was “doing our darndest” to meet.
Local Market was unable to open last week due to city inspections, Hairston’s spokesperson Delmarie Cobb said Monday. The alderman’s office directed requests for further detail to Shop and Save officials.
“Part of the reason [for the delay] is all of the inspections that are taking place,” Cobb said. “The inspections are about the equipment. It’s not a negative, it’s just that everything has to be working.”
No new estimate on an opening date was given by Shop and Save officials or Hairston’s office.
The city approved $10 million in tax-increment financing to the developer of the new badly-needed grocery store in October 2018. The Chicago Development Fund granted an additional $12 million in New Market Tax Credit funding in February.
The Jeffery Plaza storefront remains the last of the 15 shuttered Chicago Dominick’s to be replaced with another grocer, though significant signs of life appeared at the site earlier this month.
A Local Market sign was placed on the facade, and window coverings have been removed to reveal the store’s interior. Banners touting the store’s imminent opening and Hairston’s efforts in the process hang on the plaza fence.
“It’s terribly unreasonable” that it’s taken so long to roll out the new store, South Shore resident Joseph Burgio said. He’s lived in the neighborhood since October 2013, two months before Dominick’s closed its Jeffery Plaza location.
Burgio’s condo is just blocks from the shopping center, but the “semi-retired” resident usually opts to grocery shop on the North Side, after he finishes his freelance work in the area.
His preferred neighborhood store is the Jewel on Cottage Grove Avenue at 61st Street, although he shops there only occasionally. He said he’s checked out other Shop and Save locations in Chicago and was impressed with their prices and customer service.
“Unlike so many of [his] neighbors,” Burgio owns a car. So while he said his grocery runs became “a bit more complicated” when Dominick’s closed, it’s not as bad for him as his neighbors who don’t drive.
Burgio believes the lack of resources along 71st Street likely contributed to the delay in replacing Dominick’s.
“I think everyone has gotten used to the continued delays,” Burgio said. “I am disappointed that Englewood was able to get a Whole Foods, while South Shore couldn’t get anything for six years.”
Block Club will update this story when an opening date is set.
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