- Save A Lot investment group Yellow Banana has received a $13.5 million municipal community development grant to help fund an initiative to improve access to groceries in underserved parts of Chicago, according to a Tuesday press release.
- Yellow Banana plans to remodel five Chicago Save A Lot supermarkets in its portfolio and reopen a location in the city’s Auburn-Gresham neighborhood that closed in 2020 through the $26 million project.
- The revitalization project follows the completion in February of Save A Lot’s multi-year effort to transfer control of most of its stores to local ownership groups.
Yellow Banana is supplementing the funds being provided by Chicago’s government with its own capital to help reduce food insecurity in the city’s South and West sides.
The investment company plans to install new flooring, lighting, signage, heating and air conditioning systems, and dairy and meat cases in the Save A Lot locations it is overhauling. Yellow Banana also intends to purchase the land the stores occupy. The company expects to complete the renovations and reopen the closed store, located at 7908 S. Halsted, by the end of 2022.
“We know how critical access to high-quality food at affordable prices is in many of these neighborhoods — I myself having been raised in a community with many similarities — and we are honored to be able to serve them,” Yellow Banana co-founder Michael Nance said in a statement. “By updating these stores both inside and out and continuing to source fresh, affordable food at prices working families can afford, we can deliver a dignified, first-rate shopping experience for local families.”
Yellow Banana acquired 32 Save A Lot stores last year, saying at the time that it planned to remodel all of them to reflect Save A Lot’s refreshed branding. The investment company, which is part of minority-owned 127 Wall Holdings, operates 38 Save A Lot stores in the Cleveland, Chicago, Milwaukee, Dallas and Jacksonville, Florida, areas, according to its website.
Yellow Banana was among 79 organizations that received a total of $50 million in community development grants from the city of Chicago, according to a Monday announcement from the office of Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. The city said it chose the recipients based on criteria including business readiness, location, design and community impact.
“When our local entrepreneurs have the tools they need to grow their small businesses, they can thrive and make our neighborhoods that much more livable, functional, and enjoyable,” Lightfoot said in a statement.
Save A Lot’s decision to sell nearly all of the approximately 300 supermarkets that carry its name to Yellow Banana and other investors underpinned an effort by the company to improve its finances and spruce up its brand. The discount grocery chain recently kicked off an advertising campaign designed to draw attention to its focus on low prices.