EAST SIDE — The pending closure of a Jewel-Osco store on the Far Southeast Side means Frankie Johnson will no longer be able to do the one-stop shopping routine she has done for the last 20 years.
“I will miss this store. It was convenient for me to stop here on my way back from getting gas in (Hammond) Indiana,” said the retired medical professional. “Everything is neat and orderly here and no long lines to stand in.”
When the store at 3920 E. 106th St. closes in April, Jewel shoppers like Johnson will have to venture north to a location at 1655 E. 95th St. The store on 106th Street is a casualty of the chain’s sale by Supervalu Inc. to an investment group, which includes Chicago-based Klaff Realty L.P.
Meanwhile, the futures of the 100 employees at the 106th Street Jewel remain uncertain.
"As with all other associates affected by the closures, those at the 106th Street store will have the opportunity to be transferred to other Jewel-Osco locations," said Karen May, a spokeswoman for Jewel-Osco. "In the event affected associates are represented by labor unions, Jewel-Osco will comply with all governing contracts with regard to seniority and other issues."
Johnson shops at the Jewel store on 106th Street for other reasons besides its convenience.
“This Jewel is better for me [because] it has all the Mexican ingredients I use for cooking. I am a big ethnic food eater," added Johnson.
Once the Jewel store closes residents won't have to travel far to find another grocery store: An Aldi is located across the street.
Still, John Taus, 32, said he plans to drive four miles to the Jewel store at 95th Street and Stony Island Avenue.
"I have been coming here since I was a kid. I like to buy name brand foods and Aldi does not offer that," said the chemical waste technician.
And Veronica Meza, 36, plans to follow suit too.
"I have lived around here for 20 years and have always shopped at Jewel," Meza said. "I love their bakery. Once this store closes I will probably end up at the other Jewel [near] Stony Island."
But with Jewel-Osco announcing three store closures, Michelle Southern is now wondering if “her” Jewel store in Grand Crossing will be next.
"I have been shopping at Jewel for 10 years and if this store should close I would have to drive a little further to another Jewel and, for me, that's too much of an inconvenience," said Southern, 45. "I now have an 18-year old (boy), 17-year old (girl) and 11-year old (boy) living with me. My husband and I are the guardians of my brother's kids and, boy, can teenagers eat."
Southern regularly shops at the Jewel store at 7530 S. Stony Island Ave. because it is close to her home and to support the local economy.
"I like to spend my money in my own neighborhood," she said.
May, the Jewel spokeswoman, said no decision had been made about whether to close the Grand Crossing store or one at 87 W. 87th St. in Chatham.
“We are always evaluating our store operations. However, (at this time) we have no additional closures to announce,” said May.