Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Alderman Howard Brookins (21st) and community leaders at the grand reopening ceremony of Jewel Osco at 95th and Ashland. Credit: Giovanni Velez/Block Club Chicago

AUBURN GRESHAM — A South Side grocery store is finally open again more than a year after it shut down because of looting.

Community and city leaders welcomed shoppers back to Jewel Osco at 94th Street and Ashland Avenue on Wednesday. The remodeled store now includes a 2,200-square-foot community room for the South Shore Drill Team to gather and practice. The supermarket company also donated $2,000 to the group.

“I liked how they beautified it. It’s gorgeous,” said Rose Myart, a longtime shopper who lives in Beverly. “You see the flowers as soon as you walk through the door … the nice flooring. It just brought a whole different look to the store and it’s really nice.”

At the reopening, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Jewel-Osco stores throughout the city were “stripped of everything” during looting after Minneapolis police killed George Floyd. People took food and drinks, but also store coolers, shelves and other equipment.

The mayor praised Jewel-Osco managers and employees for committing to reopening and improving its stores, noting another location recently reopened at 87 W. 87th St. in Chatham.

“It’s one thing to enhance a vital community resource, such as a grocery store. But it’s another thing to do that and create an entirely new resource that will further improve the health and well being and quality of life for our residents,” Lightfoot said.

Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. (21st) said having a longtime business come back online steadies the business landscape and the Auburn Gresham community, keeping residents from leaving the area. He said the neighborhood is in the middle of a renaissance.

“When people see investment in their community like what Jewel is doing today, they have a good feeling that their community is progressing as opposed to regressing,” he said.

Ebony Henderson, an Auburn Gresham resident, said the reopening was not only important for her family but for the entire community.

“I’ve always loved Jewels … but that being bigger and expanding more for the community, maybe more people will come to the community to shop,” Henderson said. “I just hope [that] the mayor keeps building our community.”

Members of the South Shore Drill team pose for a photo with a $2,000 reward from Jewel-Osco. Credit: Giovanni Velez/Block Club Chicago.

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