GARFIELD PARK — Owners of a West Garfield Park grocery store will share their plans for improvements and renovations to the business at a community meeting with neighbors Tuesday.
Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) will speak with residents and representatives from Yellow Banana, which operates the Save A Lot, at a community meeting 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at St. Michael MB Church, 4106 W. Monroe St.
City health inspectors temporarily shut down the store, 420 S. Pulaski Road, in February 2022 after a rat infestation. Yellow Banana, an Ohio-based company that operates 38 stores under the Save A Lot name, took over the store’s business license later that month, records show.
The company received $13.5 million tax-increment financing funds from City Council last year to upgrade six South and West Sides stores, including the West Garfield Park location. Overall, Yellow Banana leaders said they are investing $26.5 million to renovate the stores, Crain’s reported.
Joe Canfield, the CEO of Yellow Banana, told Crain’s that construction on the West Garfield Park store could start within the next few weeks and wrap by mid-summer.
Some of those upgrades include fixes to the roof, parking lot, refrigeration and floors, according to the Garfield Park Community Council.
West Garfield Park and nearby areas have seen large retail grocery chains such as Aldi leave the area, worsening access to fresh food in a food desert.
But some residents have opposed Save A Lot stores opening or reopening, claiming the chain’s has a history of unsanitary conditions and poor food quality.
Englewood neighbors have organized to block Yellow Banana’s move to open a Save A Lot inside the closed Whole Foods space, criticizing the company and local leaders for pushing the plan forward without communicating with residents.
At a community meeting last week, neighbors complained about spoiled food, unclean freezer compartments and groceries sold on their expiration dates at other stores they visited, according to fliers by the Resident Association of Greater Englewood.
“We were well aware of the lack of investment and conditions of the buildings,” Yellow Banana co-owner Michael Nance told Englewood neighbors at the meeting. “We need to update them, and we saw this as an opportunity to make good on our mission to provide healthy, affordable, quality food to folks who look like us, grew up in places like the ones we grew up in.”
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