An Aldi store on Chicago’s South Side abruptly closed this week, stunning residents and leaving community leaders questioning the company’s motives in executing the closure.
The store, located in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood at 76th Street and Ashland, abruptly closed this week, with gates pulled shut and signage all boarded up.
“It’s somewhat frustrating, but you have to get used to it,” resident Coryn Neal said. “You have to survive.”
The closure comes just a month after a Whole Foods store in Englewood announced that it will close soon, and city leaders are upset that grocers are leaving the South Side.
“It is unfair,” 16th Ward Ald. Stephanie Coleman said. “This is not acceptable, especially in communities like Englewood, like Auburn Gresham, like Chicago Lawn.”
In a statement, Aldi said that the store closure was based on increasing instances of theft at the location, along with declining sales.
“Our decision was based on several factors, including repeated burglaries and declining sales,” the company said. “Out of concern for our employees and customers…keeping this store open was no longer a sustainable option.”
Today the aldermen representing these neighborhoods say they want answers from both companies.
“It’s not just about store closures to me. I know for a fact it’s about discrimination,” Ald. David Moore said.
“The good old standby ‘crime crime crime,’ there was just no business,” Neal added.
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said that the city has seen reduction in crime in areas targeted by police, including the Auburn Gresham neighborhood.
“We are focused on areas like Auburn Gresham, which has seen more than its fair share of crime, and is seeing some of the most significant declines in the city right now,” he said.