CHICAGO — Walmart will reopen all of its Chicago stores, the city announced Friday.
Many have worried some of the stores wouldn’t return because they were looted or vandalized amid unrest at the start of June, and some had already been unprofitable before then. But the company has committed to reopening every Chicago store by the end of 2020, which will, in turn, provide jobs for 1,600 people, according to the city.
“This means welcoming back thousands of jobs and increasing access to grocery stores and fresh produce close to home,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said during a Friday press conference. “It means building stronger local economies in our neighborhoods.”
Neighborhood Market stores and a Supercenter in Hemosa will reopen by the end of July, according to the city. The Chatham and Austin Supercenters will reopen by the end of the year. A Walmart Supercenter in Pullman has already reopened.
The company will also build Walmart Health Centers into the stores in Austin and Chatham, providing preventive health care for residents, said CEO Doug McMillon.
The stores that will reopen:
• Walmart Neighborhood Market, 2844 N. Broadway
• Walmart Neighborhood Market, 2511 W. Cermak Road
• Walmart Neighborhood Market, 4720 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
• Walmart Neighborhood Market, 7535 S. Ashland Ave.
• Walmart Supercenter, 8331 S. Stewart Ave.
• Walmart Supercenter, 4650 W. North Ave.
• Walmart Supercenter, 4626 W. Diversey Ave.
McMillon said Walmart will also invest in a training academy in Chicago where the company can “develop talent” among employees.
That training center, called the Walmart Academy, will also work as a community center where local groups can provide education and training, according to the Mayor’s Office.
The city did not give Walmart tax breaks to keep them in Chicago, though the city did “offer up our lessons learned and resources that we have generated, particularly over our response to COVID-19,” Lightfoot said.
“I think a lot of the things that we’ve been doing align well with Walmart’s vision of how it wants to be a partner in urban centers like Chicago,” Lightfoot said. “Making sure that our businesses are strong and thriving in every neighborhood is critically important to the health and wellbeing of our city.”
McMillon said Walmart is reopening even stores that have struggled because “there’s more to this equation than just profit.” The company is committed to investing in Chicago, he said.
“We’re not making it for the short term,” McMillon said during the press conference. “It is our intention to be here … . But this commitment we’re making is big, so we’re intending to be here to stay.”
The city said the reopening of the facilities represents an investment of $35-50 million in Chicago.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.