photo by: WBEZ/Elliott Ramos
A Walmart “Express” recently opened in Lakeview, making it the second Walmart I know of to open in Chicago since the City Council agreed to allow the large retailer to operate within city limits. I walked by the new Walmart “Neighborhood Market” in the west loop when it opened in September and there was a lot of commotion going on about the store. The stores that have opened in Chicago are a much smaller, scaled down version of Walmart, and the neighborhood market in the west loop only sells groceries.
Earlier in the fall, Walmart was looking to make a presence in Logan Square by building a store in an empty parking lot near California and Milwaukee. However, Alderman Proco Joe Moreno made moves to prevent Walmart’s attempt to open in the neighborhood, and stated that Walmart would not be a good fit for the area.
Logan Square has seen a boom in small businesses in the last few years, and the idea of opening a Walmart in the area has been a source of controversy among residents and elected officials. However, all of this fuss does bring up a real issue - there is a lack of accessibility to quality food in parts of Logan Square. Those who have cars can drive to a variety of grocery stores along the periphery of the area: Aldi, Trader Joe’s, Strack & Van Til, Tony’s Finer Foods and Target. However, the rest of us who don’t own a car but live within walking distance of the California and Logan Square Blue Line stations buy our food and produce from corner stores and small shops.
Maybe Walmart isn’t a good fit for the area. And I don’t mind buying my veggies from the produce store next to Cozy Corner, but it would be nice to have a place where you can purchase everything in one stop. I’m actually surprised that a Dominick’s or Trader Joe’s or something similar hasn’t sprung up yet.
What do you guys think? Do you think the Logan Square area should remain the way it is where residents get their groceries and foodstuffs from the dozens of little corner shops, liquor stores and produce stands? Or do we need a Dominicks or even a Walmart in the area?