After six years of empty promises and an empty building, residents in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood are rejoicing on Wednesday as a new Local Market location opened in their area.
The new Local Market location opened Wednesday in a space that was formerly occupied by Dominick’s near the intersection of 71st and Jeffrey. That store closed its doors in 2013, but six years later, an area that was once a food desert is now the proud new home of a 64,000-square foot store.
“After Dominick’s closed, we started going to Jewel, and I didn’t know what to do because their prices were really high and they weren’t prepared for the crowds that were coming,” one resident said. “We had to travel miles before we could bring food to our house, and I want to say thank you.”
Hundreds of residents turned out for the grand opening, standing in line for up to three hours to get into the store for the big day. The store will be stocked with food from a variety of sources, including a group of local vendors, and the store has created an estimated 180 new local jobs.
The store is a new concept from the owners of the Shop & Save Grocery Store chain, and there’s a local connection in just about every detail. One such connection comes in the form of Imani’s Bean Pies, a pie-making enterprise founded by Imani Mohammed and her daughter Hadiya as a school project.
“I’m very proud of my mom,” Hadiya said. “She’s worked hard for years from the beginning, and it’s great to see the business flourish more and more every day.”
Alderman Leslie Hariston was also on hand, savoring the moment after fighting for years to bring a new grocery store to the area.
“We are worthy,” she said. “We eat every day just like everybody else, and we deserve quality in where we play, where we work, where we live, and where we shop.”