By SAMANTHA SMYLIE
After missing its end of the first-quarter deadline in April, the University of Chicago’s Commerical Real Estate Operations Group (CREO) has announced that Trader Joe’s will replace Treasure Island Foods and open in the fall of this year.
“We recognize the importance of a grocery store in this location to the community. We carefully selected Trader Joe’s based on a number of factors, including community input and timeline to opening. We look forward to working with Trader Joe’s to open its doors to the community later this year,” said Angie Marks, Associate Vice President of Real Estate Operations.
“I’m happy to announce another grocery store. This is important. This is something that people have been looking forward to. It is necessary, and I’m pleased to have successfully brought another grocery store,” said Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th)
During a November 2018 online survey taken by more than 3,400 community members, U of C. found that residents valued a new grocery store with fresh produce, reasonable pricing, quality meats, and specialty foods. In an optional field for comments, 1,000 respondents commented on a specific grocery store and 628 of those responses requested a Trader Joe’s.
U. of C. believes that Trader Joe’s will offer everything that local residents want in a new grocery store. Trader Joe’s plans to employ community members from within Hyde Park and surrounding neighborhoods on the South Side. Trader Joe’s will release more information on hiring soon.
According to a press release by U. of C, “In 2019, Trader Joe’s was named America’s Best Employer by Forbes and also ranked as one of the Best Employers for Diversity. Trader Joe’s was also ranked on Forbes’ 2018 lists of America’s Best Employers, Best Employers for Women and Best Employer for New Grads.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to bring a Trader Joe’s store to the Hyde Park community. Our focus is on making sure it’s a great neighborhood grocery store that offers quality products at everyday prices and is run by a team that is passionate about being a part of the community and providing a welcoming customer experience,” said Kenya Friend-Daniel, Trader Joe’s spokesperson.
Trader’s Joe will occupy a portion of the space at 1526 E. 55th St. CREO will lease the rest of the space for retail that will complement the store and share what businesses will move in once the information is available.
Treasure Island Foods closed down unexpectedly in October of 2018 which left a large void for members of the community who shopped frequently at the store and used the location as a gathering space.