Earlier this month, an airy new Jewel-Osco at 61st Street and Cottage Grove Avenue in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood was bustling with shoppers and employees.
“This is nice and convenient, and there hasn’t been a grocery store around here,” said Sharon McGee, who stopped by the store after work to pick up a few things before heading home to Dolton. “I’ll be back to pick up groceries and for work potlucks.”
A few aisles over as she filled her cart with groceries, Hyde Park resident Suzanne Ruch was excited she didn’t have to shop at several stores to buy all the items on her grocery list. “I’m very pleased with how large it is, how bright it is, how clean it is and the produce is great,” she said.
Community stakeholders hope the long-awaited $20 million, 48,000-square-foot Jewel, paid for in part with $11.5 million in city tax credits, signals a new day in economically depressed Woodlawn. Despite its location — just blocks away from flourishing Hyde Park — it has struggled to recover from years of disinvestment and population loss.