Washington Park Save A Lot closed after break-in

The store at 344 E. 63rd St. was shut because of property damage from a break-in reported Saturday, the company said. A sign at the low-cost grocery store urged customers to visit the Englewood Save A Lot less than 2 miles away.

SHARE Washington Park Save A Lot closed after break-in
Merchandise is removed from a closed Save A Lot store at 344 E. 63rd St. on the South Side on Monday, May 22, 2023.

Merchandise is removed Monday from a shuttered Save A Lot grocery store at 344 E. 63rd St.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

A Save A Lot in Washington Park has closed indefinitely after a break-in left property damage, owners of the store said Monday.

Yellow Banana, the Ohio-based owner of seven Chicago Save A Lot stores, made the decision to close its Washington Park store because of a break-in over the weekend that led to “significant property damage,” a spokesperson said Monday.

About two weeks ago, the company — despite staunch opposition from some Englewood community members — opened a Save A Lot at 832 W. 63rd St., the site of a former Englewood Whole Foods store that closed last fall.

A sign at the Washington Park location directs customers to the new Englewood store, about a mile-and-a-half away.

In a statement provided to the Sun-Times, Yellow Banana said the store will be closed for the foreseeable future.

“Over the weekend, vandals broke into our store at 344 East 63rd Street, causing significant property damage and removing thousands of dollars worth of inventory,” the statement said. “Several suspects were still in the store when our team arrived to open the next day. We engaged local law enforcement and are cooperating with the ongoing police investigation.

“Our top priority for this and all our Save A Lot locations is the safety and security of our employees and our customers. The store will remain closed as we work with City officials to address these security risks,” the statement said.

Multiple people got into the store by breaking the front window during the early hours of May 20, Chicago police confirmed. Police noted property damage and theft from inside the store. No arrests had been made as of Monday afternoon.

Yellow Banana received $13.5M in tax increment financing, approved last fall by the City Council’s Finance Committee, to revamp five stores and reopen a sixth in Chicago.

The now-shuttered Washington Park store — a seventh store — was excluded from that financing.

A spokesperson for the company declined to elaborate on the damage that occurred, but confirmed that the store was the only open Save A Lot under its company excluded from the financing.

The store in the Washington Park neighborhood and six other stores were acquired by Yellow Banana through a licensing agreement with Save A Lot in September 2021 to bring grocery-shopping options to Chicago’s food deserts.

The company’s leadership has pleaded with the neighbors in Englewood, the site of its newest store, to give the brand a chance to prove itself after years of “reputational damage,” co-founder Michael Nance said.

According to the Chicago Health Atlas, more than 65% of Washington Park residents have low access to food.

Mariah Rush is a staff reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times via Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster the paper’s coverage of communities on the South and West sides.

The Latest
Dan Renkosiak caught his PB smallmouth bass Friday on the Chicago River downtown, then found dozens of white bass, raising the question of whether there is now a white bass run on the Chicago River.
A 23-year-old man and 28-year-old man were in the first block of South Lotus Avenue at about 7:40 p.m. when they were both shot by an “unknown” assailant, police said.
Once poison gets into the food chain, it kills predators and wildlife that help control vermin.
The proposal to raise money for affordable housing failed on multiple fronts, three DePaul University emeritus professors write. Overall, advocates of progressive measures have to recognize and address the complexity of public opinion.
Happy with a transgender female partner, reader considers moving away to somewhere less judgmental.