(CBS) — It’s the only vacant Dominick’s store left in Chicago, and now people who live nearby are taking matters into their own hands.
They’re hoping some Hollywood star power can help their case.
The closed store in question is on 71st Street in the South Shore neighborhood. The nearest comparable store now is more than a mile away, CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports.
Dominick’s closed last December. Residents say they’ve been patiently waiting for city officials to find a replacement. But since they haven’t, they’ve found their own: Sterling Farms in New Orleans.
Sterling Farms, owned by actor and entrepreneur Wendell Pierce, opened its first major store last March and was applauded by First Lady Michelle Obama for operating in an under-served community of New Orleans.
“Why not Sterling when stores right here in the city of Chicago will not come? If we have someone that’s interested, let’s bring them to the table and the city should support it,” says Val Free, executive director of the Planning Coalition.
City officials refuse to comment on whether they’ll support Sterling or any other specific store. A spokesman for the Planning Commission says the city is talking to several grocers, but residents don’t want just any grocer.
Neighbors argue that this diverse community, just steps from the lake, can support another major grocer.
“We would rather stay close and put our money where we live,” Don Watanabe says.
A recent marketing survey by the city seems to support the community’s need for another grocery store. According to the report, residents living near 71st and Stony Island spend $75 million a year on food and beverages outside the community.