GRAND CROSSING — While visiting a new grocery store located in a South Side food desert Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Saturday he would now sit down to come up with a formula to choose a replacement for Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th), who announced Friday that her resignation would become effective Jan. 15.
"I will sit down today and come up with a process that will help me identify the best person for the job," Emanuel told DNAinfo.com Chicago. "This is not an easy decision and one that I do not take lightly, so I cannot give you a timetable on when I will make my decision."
Indeed, the mayor is under no rush to appoint someone immediately. He has 60 days to appoint the next 7th Ward alderman to complete Jackson's term.
The mayor stopped by Louis' Groceries, 7604 S. Cottage Grove Ave., which opened last month and sells fresh fruit and vegetables in a neighborhood starving for grocery stores. The store is opened and operated by a Chicago, non-profit organization.
The mayor said he heard about the new store from Melinda Kelly, executive director of the Chatham Business Association, and promised her he would visit the store one day.
"Well I guess today is that day," said Kelly, who accompanied the mayor to the store. "He has made a pledge to help small businesses grow and we (Chatham Business Association) intend to hold him to that commitment. One that I know he will keep."
As far as Terri Zhu, program manager for the nonprofit and the store's manager, the mayor can stop by anytime.
“Our whole purpose of being here is to educate people about healthy eating, and to provide nutritional foods for their households,” added Zhu. “I do not live in this area, but in Hyde Park where no food deserts exist. That does not mean I am not aware of the needs of this community.”
Ald. Roderick Sawyer, whose Sixth Ward includes Chatham, also accompanied the mayor.
"Louis Groceries may be small in size but is big when it comes to what is trying to do to help this neighborhood," Sawyer said. "Residents without cars cannot get to full-service grocery stores to buy healthy products but now they have a store in walking distance that sells healthy items."
While at the store the mayor sampled freshly made salad and expressed his support to help the store expand.
"I will do what I can to help because I believe in the concept of healthy eating produces a healthy mind," added Emanuel.