Whole Foods is closing two Chicago storesincluding one it opened on the South Side six years ago amid promises to end the food desert in that area, Block Club Chicago reported.
The Englewood spot and a DePaul University shop (at 959 W. Fullerton Ave.) are among six locations nationwide being closed by the Amazon-owned grocery chain, which operates 530 locations. The closure is a particular blow in Englewood, which had been a food desert before the Whole Foods opened in September 2016 at 832 W. 63rd St.
Once the Englewood location closes, the Hyde Park store will be the only Whole Foods left on the South Side. At one point, the Englewood store employed 100 peopleincluding many from the neighborhood.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a press release that Windy City Times received. She said, "Amazon's decision to close stores in Englewood and Lincoln Park as part of a nationwide closure of stores is obviously disappointing. My immediate worry is for the workers in both locations. Amazon must now take clear steps to protect those workers as they transition to new opportunities.
"Together with both communities and local elected leaders, my administration will work to repurpose these locations in a way that continues to serve the community and support the surrounding businesses."
Illinois state Sen. Mattie Hunter issued a separate response. "The city invested millions into this Whole Foods to provide access to healthier food options in an underserved community," Hunter said. "Now, the city has lost its investment and a source of nourishment for the region."
Hunter's release also noted that the announcement came just two days after a new 66,000-square-foot Whole Foods store opened on the border between the River North and Gold Coast areas, at 3 W. Chicago Ave.
The closure dates have not yet been announced.