After just six years, Whole Foods announced last week that the grocery chain is closing its Englewood store.
The store's departure is a major blow to the South Side neighborhood that's long suffered from a lack of healthy food options.
State Rep. Sonya Harper (D-Chicago), who represents Englewood, released a statement today expressing her disappointment.
“I was proud to work with Whole Foods to bring a new location to Englewood because they claimed their decision was not based on profitability, but rather a desire to help provide access to healthy groceries for residents,” Harper said in the statement.
Getting Whole Foods to Englewood six years ago took work from local organizers and an $11 million tax increment financing subsidy from the city, then led by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“I definitely feel like the community got smacked in the face. But I believe this was Whole Foods’ failure, not ours,” said Asiaha Butler, co-founder & CEO of RAGE, the Resident Association of Greater Englewood. “When they started having concerns about low performance and low traffic, they should have leaned into the community who were helping drive traffic to the store. The fact that we didn’t get the opportunity to hear what their concerns were and work with them is their failure, not ours.”
Butler thinks the city should reevaluate how it incentivizes projects like this.
“I would hope that with everything that’s happened since 2020, we’d see more corporations that are socially responsible, that have a true commitment to the community,” Butler said. “It can’t just be based on the bottom line.”