By Michael Romain, The Village Free Press
In a statement released today, officials with Aldi, the international discount grocery store chain, confirmed that its Maywood store, located at 215 Madison St., will be closing on Saturday, Dec. 24.
The confirmation comes one day after village officials made a separate announcement during a Dec. 8 community meeting held at Kathy’s Cafe, 1008 S. 17th Ave. in Maywood.
The company said that the decision to close the Maywood store was due to the presence of other stores in nearby suburbs.
“We made a decision to close this store because there are several ALDI locations in the Bellwood, Broadview and Melrose Park areas that will continue to provide our customers with the highest quality products at the lowest possible prices,” the company statement read. “All of these stores are within a few miles of the Maywood location. We are pleased to share that all employees are able to transfer to surrounding ALDI stores.
“ALDI has been a member of the Chicagoland market for more than four decades, and we look forward to continue bringing Chicagoland families high-quality groceries at everyday low prices for many more years to come at our existing locations.
“We thank our customers for their many years of loyalty and hope they’ll continue to enjoy shopping at our other ALDI stores in the area.”
But some village officials, such as Maywood Trustee Isiah Brandon, aren’t satisfied with that company’s explanation for the store closure. Brandon said the company told board members that the reason the store was closing was because it was underperforming.
“The reason they stated is because the store is underperforming,” said Brandon during Thursday’s community meeting. “But I truly believe that they knew they were leaving months ago. You just don’t make a decision in one day.”
Since getting word of the store’s closing on Dec. 7, Brandon said, he’s contacted an Aldi executive by phone, who didn’t tell him much beyond the statement the company released.
Word of the store’s impending closure sent waves of shock and outrage throughout Facebook among community members, with some people suggesting that patrons write letters or start a petition to make their concerns known.
“This international discount grocer serves as this small community’s only grocery store. Many residents depend on the low prices and decent products that sits on a main street that meet their daily needs,” wrote Maywood resident Joellen Hopson in a change.org petition she started called “Keep Aldi store in Maywood.”
“I am a consumer and would hate to see Aldi close,” Hopson continued. “Meanwhile, the surrounding towns retain grocery stores while Maywood suffers to draw big box stores to its borders.”
On Thursday, Brandon said that Aldi officials notified him and his colleagues on the Board of Trustees that they had intended to sell the land on which the soon-to-close store sits. In its statement, Aldi officials didn’t address any future plans they had for the building and surrounding land the company owns.
The Madison Street Aldi has been open since the early 1990s, according to county records. In 1992, according to the Good Jobs First subsidy tracker, Maywood agreed to grant Aldi tax relief in the form of a local sales tax rebate, which was designed to help offset construction and environmental remediation costs.
The local subsidy was valued at $390,000, but so far it hasn’t been confirmed how much of the subsidy Aldi utilized or if the company was given any other subsidies after that point.
According to Cook County records, Aldi’s property tax bill ranged from a low of $3,705 in 2011 to a high of $4,923 in 2015. VFP