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Chicago Considers City Owned Grocery Stores To Replace Those Which Closed Due To Crime

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Da, what could possibly go wrong, Comrades?

Chicago mayor considers creating city-owned grocery store after Walmart, Whole Foods close stores in the city

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson announced last week that his administration is exploring a city-owned grocery store as a means of promoting “equitable” access to food, though the plan has drawn criticism from skeptics of a government owned and operated store.

Chicago would become the first major U.S. city to implement a municipally owned grocery store to address food inequity if the proposal advances, the mayor’s office said in a release. Johnson’s office said Wednesday that it’s working with the Economic Security Project, a non-profit group, on a feasibility study that “will help inform the Johnson administration’s emerging food retail strategy, which will receive input from experts, community leaders, and Chicago’s Food Equity Council.”

“All Chicagoans deserve to live near convenient, affordable, healthy grocery options. We know access to grocery stores is already a challenge for many residents, especially on the South and West sides,” Johnson said. “My administration is committed to advancing innovative, whole-of-government approaches to address these inequities. I am proud to work alongside partners to take this step in envisioning what a municipally owned grocery store in Chicago could look like.”

It’s a challenge in those areas because the crime is out of control. It’s a problem of their own making, both the citizens for the criminality and the city for not having the police necessary and for not prosecuting. How would this actually work, though? Does the city have people who are familiar with running stores? Understanding the supply chains? How much money will the city spend with all the money they do not have? How much money will the stores lose because of theft and mismanagement? Of course, if they go forward with the plan, it will take years and years, because they will do studies and such

The mayor’s office said in a release that it intends to pursue “values aligned funding opportunities” for the city-owned grocery store initiative such as those from the Illinois Grocery Initiative, which commits $20 million for grants and technical assistance for grocery stores in the state. The city didn’t provide a timeline for the study.

Paying a few people a huge amount for studies, rather than talking to people who can get this done quickly.

It cited data from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture estimated that 63.5% of residents in West Englewood and 52% of East Garfield Park residents live more than half a mile from their nearest grocery store. It added that “food access and security link directly to environmental and racial justice. 37% of Black residents and 29% of Latine/x residents are food insecure, compared to 19% of residents overall.”

Half a mile? The horror! How many grocery stores does the USDA think there should be? I have zero within that range. I have 6 within two miles. There are only so many places one can be.

Walmart announced the closure of three stores in Chicago’s South and West Side neighborhoods this April, in addition to one store in the more affluent North Side after years of challenges with profitability despite investing in upgrades to the facilities. Those closures occurred after Walmart CEO Doug McMillon warned in December that its stores across the country were grappling with shoplifting to a degree that, “If it’s not corrected over time, prices will be higher, and/or stores will close.”

“The simplest explanation is that collectively our Chicago stores have not been profitable since we opened the first one nearly 17 years ago – these stores lose tens of millions of dollars a year, and their annual losses nearly doubled in just the last five years,” Walmart wrote in a post announcing the closures. “The remaining four Chicago stores continue to face the same business difficulties, but we think this decision gives us the best chance to help keep them open and serving the community.”

If they are not profitable, and are losing double now, why keep them open? That’s why Whole Foods and others have closed. They aren’t charities. Add in the danger to the employees and patrons, and it’s a big loser. But, you know what? I’d love to see Chicago give this Soviet Union style experiment a whirl. Every experiment needs an experimental group, right?

The post Chicago Considers City Owned Grocery Stores To Replace Those Which Closed Due To Crime appeared first on Pirate’s Cove.


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