When fresh food can be difficult to access, particularly within food deserts such as West Garfield Park, community members are angry and baffled by the sudden closure and abandonment of a local grocery store within the community. Aldi’s, formerly located at 3835 W Madison, was one of the two grocery stores operating within the West Garfield Park community. Without a formal announcement of the closing of this store, reports began to circulate on social media during the week of October 9th, and community members noticed the store sign and store furniture removed. While Aldi officials have not provided a statement, a Google search confirmed that the location is permanently closed.
On Thursday, October 28th, 2021, at 11 am, community members will gather at Aldi’s corporate headquarters at California and Granville to express their concerns and hold Aldi’s officials accountable. Without this grocery, community residents are left with one grocery in the neighborhood, a local Save-A-Lot at 420 S Pulaski Road. The closest Aldi locations for these residents are now limited to West Humboldt Park (800 N. Kedzie Ave & 1440 N. Kostner Ave) and Cicero (4630 W Cermak Rd).
Community members are now advocating for answers to the baffling pull of the store that provided food in a food desert and provided fresh food at an affordable price for families, despite inflation rates due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “This Aldi’s location has been a staple in the community for over the last 25 years. It was the first grocery option for my family when I was growing up in East Garfield Park. Keeping affordable groceries and competitive wages in the community should be a priority in an area that has the lowest life expectancy in the region,” says Ayesha Jaco, Executive Director West Side United.
Community leaders cite this move as an example of corporate racial injustice and call on Aldi’s to account for their decision to leave a community in need. “Aldi left this community in the middle of the night without warning or regard that they have left a food desert more deserted,” says Rev. Marshall Hatch Sr of West Garfield Park’s New Mount Pilgrim Church. “The store was clearly profitable and patronized, and Aldi’s corporate behavior in this era of racial reckoning is reprehensible, must be called out, and made right,” Hatch Sr. added.
Leaders encourage the community to come together for the rally to express their concerns and to hold Aldi accountable to the community.
Chante’ Gamby is a writer passionate about social justice and empowering others to live their healthiest lives. You can follow her on Facebook at Fringefam, Instagram@fringegram, or on her website, www.fringefam.com.