Whole Foods will close two of its 12 Chicago area stores, including an Englewood location it opened six years ago in a neighborhood considered a food desert, a spokesperson for the specialty grocer confirmed Friday.
The Englewood location, at 832 W 63rd St., will close in the coming months. A separate Whole Foods location in the DePaul University Welcome Center at 959 W. Fullerton Ave. is expected to close by May 6. Whole Foods would not disclose how many employees work at the two stores.
Four other Whole Foods stores located in Montgomery and Mobile, Alabama; Tarzana, California; and Bookline, Massachusetts, will also close, the spokesperson said. Whole Foods has more than 530 locations nationwide.
“As we continue to position Whole Foods Market for long-term success, we regularly evaluate the performance and growth potential of each of our stores, and we have made the difficult decision to close six stores,” a Whole Food spokesperson said in a prepared statement. “We are supporting impacted Team Members through this transition and expect that all interested, eligible Team Members will find positions at our other locations.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel worked with Whole Foods to open the store in 2016, giving the company more than $10 million in tax subsidies to make it happen. Years afterward, Emanuel praised the store as a “game changer” with transformative ripple effects for the neighborhood.
At its grand opening, the store drew large festive crowds and excitement when it opened its doors. Many shoppers applauded the store’s presence in a community with few options for fresh, healthy food. Whole Foods said it hoped that local connection, plus significantly lower prices on select items, would keep shoppers coming back after the hoopla died down.
More to come.