AUBURN GRESHAM — A South Side Save A Lot grocery store set to open this summer has delayed its grand opening to later this year, owners said Monday.
Save A Lot, 7908 S. Halsted St., will open this fall, a company spokesperson said on behalf of co-founder Joe Canfield. Store leaders are targeting mid-to-late October, the spokesperson said.
Yellow Banana, the majority-minority-owned company that now owns and operates Save A Lot stores, received $13.5 million in TIF funding and another $13 million in New Market Tax Credits and private dollars to buy and revitalize six stores on the South and West sides, including the Auburn Gresham store.
Canfield told neighbors at a June community meeting that Yellow Banana hoped to open the renovated grocery store by mid-July.
Construction on the Save A Lot had started a week before the meeting, and the store needed a “complete transformation,” including a new roof, parking lot, refrigeration equipment, floors and lighting before it could open, Canfield said at the time.
“Delays with [city] permits” stalled plans for a summer grand opening, but those permits have since been approved, the company spokesperson said.
In the meantime, Yellow Banana will focus on fostering community partnerships and gathering feedback from neighbors who want to weigh in on the store’s development, the company spokesperson said.
Previous owners of the Auburn Gresham Save A Lot left “quickly and abruptly” in February 2020, Ald. David Moore (17th), whose ward includes the store, said in June.
A CVS, Bank of America branch and a BJ’s Market and Bakery have also closed in the ward in recent years.
In June 2022, a local Aldi unexpectedly closed, shocking neighbors.
The ward has “fought to get businesses back into this community,” Moore said in June. It has been “hard and challenging to beg people to come to our communities,” he previously said.
Without Yellow Banana, “we would still be facing a shuttered Save A Lot,” Moore said.
Yellow Banana will hire locally and employ a community outreach associate to “engage with the various community organizations,” Canfield said in June.
The company plans to partner with local vendors to stock its shelves and supply its produce, Canfield said. Plans for a vendor fair are being ironed out, a company spokesperson said.
The “reimagined” Save A Lot store will have exterior lighting and cameras, Canfield said. After an incident at another store and a series of break-ins at a Washington Park Save A Lot, Yellow Banana will replace armed security guards with on-staff unarmed security “who walk around the store,” Canfield said in June.
“We want to be a neighborhood grocer, and that means being involved in the community,” Canfield previously said.
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