Big box retailer Target is closing two stores on Chicago’s South Side. Residents of the surrounding neighborhoods are decrying the Minneapolis-based company’s decision.
Target plans to close stores in Chatham and Morgan Park on Feb. 2, 2019. The company said every year it reviews performance of its stores and may decide to close a few of its most underperforming shops. Target spokeswoman Jacqueline DeBuse said the decision was difficult, and it had nothing to do with the specific community or geography.
“Target takes into account many factors, including the performance and profitability of a store over several years,” she said.
DeBuse said there are about 120 employees at the Chatham store and about 115 at the Morgan Park location. She said the company will help any eligible workers transfer to a different location in the area. Those that don’t want to continue working at Target could be offered a separation package depending on their standing and years of employment.
South Side Ald. Roderick Sawyer of the 6th Ward said the closures will be “devastating” to the communities. In a statement, he said it’s ironic that the company chose to shutter South Side locations.
“The chain is putting finishing touches on two new stores on the North Side, in Logan Square, and Rogers Park, both of which already have nearby Target stores. Once the Chatham and Morgan Park stores close, the nearest remaining South Side Targets will be at least 5 miles from this community,” he wrote in a statement.
Sawyer called the business move a racially imbalanced policy.
“It is disappointing that this giant corporation is not willing to address the serious management issues at this store, and to give our community more time and investment in order to continue the economic recovery and to increase its store’s profitability,” he said.
He’s urging the company to reconsider the closures, but Target said the decision is final.
Community residents are also disappointed in the announcement. Worlee Glover runs the social media pages for Concerned Citizens of Chatham. He said he’s aware the stores have had some customer service issues, but he thinks with the right investment, that could have been turned around.
Glover said elderly residents will be most impacted by the closures. The stores are a one-stop shop for pharmacy, grocery, and home goods.
“The biggest concerns my neighbors have is with the closures of Walgreens and Best Buy; we see discount retailers such as Family Dollar and Dollar Tree. We’ve seen a number of beauty supply stores,” he said. “We have an oversaturation of those types of stores. The community, my neighbors do not want to see any more of those types of stores.”
Glover is optimistic that the stores won’t be vacant for long. He hopes a full-service grocery will take Target’s place.