Easing the impact caused by the closure of four Walmart supermarkets in Chicago, Yellow Banana announced a $26.5 million investment in renovating its Save a Lot grocery stores on the city’s South and West Sides and the re-opening of another store that had closed in 2020.
With this project, the company, which owns and operates eight Save a Lot stores in Chicago, reported that it is marking the next step in an ongoing commitment to underserved communities throughout the city.
Yellow Banana was co-founded in 2021 by Michael Nance, Ademola Adewale-Sadik, and Walker Brumskine and is owned by investment firm 127 Wall. The company owns and operates about 40 Save a Lot stores in Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Jacksonville, and Dallas.
Likewise, the company said its goal is to be a partner of choice for municipalities working to find solutions to food insecurity across the U.S.
“Where people grow up or live should not determine their access to healthy, affordable food options,” said Michael Nance. “We look forward to providing residents on Chicago’s South and West Sides with a repositioned, quality grocery experience, and we are eager to engage with them as we determine the appropriate offerings for these locations. We understand that local engagement and collaboration will make these stores successful,” Nance added.
In addition to comprehensive improvements to their existing stores, they will re-open a former Save a Lot located at 7908 S. Halsted in Chicago’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood, which closed in 2020.
Save a Lot Store Improvements
The $26.5 million in funding combines a $13.5 million Community Development Grant previously awarded Yellow Banana by the city in July 2022 with New Markets Tax Credits, third-party financing, and funding from the company.
These capital investments will be used to acquire the underlying real estate at five of Yellow Banana’s existing Chicago stores and the Auburn Gresham site. Yellow Banana will then complete a comprehensive internal and external redevelopment at each location, including new flooring, lighting, equipment, HVAC, dairy and meat cases, interior and exterior paint, décor, fixtures, and signage.
“Yellow Banana’s triple business mandate is to provide food access, job creation, and economic development to our customers, colleagues, and communities,” said Ademola Adewale-Sadik. “Transforming these six sites into the community anchor tenants, these neighborhoods deserve will attract much-needed commercial activity in both the short and long term, and this doubling down on our commitment to Chicago is in line with our mandate.”
The transaction further underscores Yellow Banana’s ongoing efforts to partner with major U.S. cities to provide access to affordable nutrition in underserved communities. It comes as Walmart announces the permanent closure of four of its long-standing locations on Chicago’s south and west sides.
” Yellow Banana has been brainstorming ways in which to breathe new life into the Save A Lot brand in Chicago ever since we first purchased the stores in 2021,” said Joseph Canfield, co-founder of 127 Wall. ” Countless professionals from dozens of organizations worked tirelessly to secure this investment and help deliver the shopping experience that hard-working Chicagoans deserve. This collaboration demonstrates our company’s commitment to providing quality, affordable, healthy groceries to the communities in which we operate.”
The renovations will begin this spring and conclude over the next 12 months, during which time Yellow Banana will also re-open the Auburn Gresham store.