Fox Business reports that Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson is saying that "his administration is exploring a city-owned grocery store as a means of promoting 'equitable' access to food, though the plan has drawn criticism from skeptics of a government owned and operated store.
"Chicago would become the first major U.S. city to implement a municipally owned grocery store to address food inequity if the proposal advances, the mayor’s office said in a release. Johnson’s office said Wednesday that it’s working with the Economic Security Project, a non-profit group, on a feasibility study that 'will help inform the Johnson administration’s emerging food retail strategy, which will receive input from experts, community leaders, and Chicago’s Food Equity Council'."
In recent months, retailers ranging from Walmart to Whole Foods have closed stores in Chicago, saying that they were not financially viable.
- KC's View:
I'm not sure that city-owned supermarkets is a good idea; running a city and running a grocery store are very different skill sets, and there would be a number of people who would question whether Chicago's politicians are good at running a city.
But I understand the frustration. There ought to be a way to bring food stores to underserved neighborhoods, maybe through the use on non-profits that have different priorities. Best way to make this work might be to create a fund for the food retail development, and then find a talented, retired and public service-minded food industry executive to come in and run it.