Yellow Banana, which owns and operates eight Save A Lot stores in the Chicago area, received a $13.5 million community investment grant, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Tuesday.
The minority-owned company, which received the city's largest grant award in this funding round, said it plans to combine additional money with the grant, to invest approximately $26 million into six Save A Lot locations in underserved communities on the South and West Sides of Chicago.
"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," Michael Nance, co-founder of 127 Wall (parent company of Yellow Banana), 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. We are committed to the wider Chicago community and look forward to finding even more ways to better serve those who live here."
In addition to renovating locations in Chicago communities such as Morgan Park, South Chicago, West Garfield Park, West Lawn and South Shore, the company will re-open the Save A Lot store in Auburn Gresham (a community that lost yet another larger grocery store recently, sparking food desert concerns).
"We are thrilled about the City of Chicago's investment in the passionate team at Yellow Banana and the Save A Lot stores they own throughout the city's South and West Sides," Save A Lot CEO Leon Bergmann said in a statement. "Quality brands at affordable prices are at the heart of Save A Lot's identity, and we are honored to be able to provide that to Chicagoans in underserved communities through our retail partners at Yellow Banana. We’re confident in their ability to maximize the success of their stores by serving the Chicago community and giving these stores, and their customers, the attention and enhancements they deserve."
Save A Lot has more than 850 stores in 32 states. Retail grocery platform Yellow Banana, which was founded last year, operates 38 Save A Lot locations across the Cleveland, Chicago, Milwaukee, Jacksonville and Dallas metropolitan areas.
"This award marks another step in Yellow Banana’s ongoing commitment to the City of Chicago," said Ademola Adewale-Sadik, 127 Wall co-founder, in a statement. "Mayor Lightfoot’s administration has made good on their promise to partner with private enterprise and invest in the City’s underserved but deserving neighborhoods. We are excited to deliver a repositioned grocery experience to our customers, colleagues and communities. Our work has just begun."