Residents Rally Over South Side Target Store Closings

Residents and community leaders are not giving up on trying to discourage Target from closing two stores on Chicago's South Side.

A rally was scheduled for Monday outside the Target in the city's South Loop - a store that isn't slated to close, but that Rep. Bobby Rush said is important to its community in the same ways the two slated for closure are to theirs.

"Whoever made the decision didn’t understand, don’t know this community," Rush said at a community meeting last week, where residents of the Morgan Park and Chatham neighborhoods expressed concerns about the closures of the stores in Marshfield Plaza and on West 86th Street and Cottage Grove.

The Minneapolis-based retailer announced plans to shutter the stores the week before, calling it a "difficult decision," but one that had to be made based on performance.

"The decision to close a store is always difficult," a store spokeswoman said in a statement, "and follows a rigorous annual process to evaluate the performance of every store in the portfolio and maintain the overall health of the business."

The company said it also considers the proximity of other Target stores before deciding to close a location.

"Target remains committed to Chicago and will continue to serve guests at nearby stores,” the spokeswoman said. "Despite investing millions od follars in the shopping experience during the past six years, we saw multiple years of decline and underperformance."

But Rep. Bobby Rush said he is hoping Target will reconsider, sending the company a letter and hosting the community meeting to hear from residents of the predominantly African-American communities.

"What are the seniors going to do? What are the kids going to do? Where are the jobs gonna go?" asked Michael LaFargue, of the West Chesterfield Community Council.

The company said it wants to ensure no job losses and planned on helping employees relocate to other locations.

While the decision stands as is, Rush said he was expected to meet with Target executives Thursday in an effort to change their minds.

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