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Erickson's Deli Fighting to Survive After 88 Years in Andersonville

By Adeshina Emmanuel | December 23, 2013 10:26am
 Erickson's Delicatessen, 5250 N. Clark St.
Erickson's Delicatessen, 5250 N. Clark St.
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Erickson's/ Facebook

UPTOWN — Erickson's Delicatessen has survived in Andersonville since 1925 — but dire financial straits have the Scandinavian deli seeking $20,000 in donations to keep it there.

The deli at 5250 N. Clark St., known for traditional Swedish foods items such as lingonberries, Swedish sausage, herren and Knäckebröd (crisp bread), is one of the last remnants of a time when Andersonville was a Swedish hub in Chicago.

Ann-Mari Nilsson and her daughter Ann-Britt Nilsson own and run the store, which has been in their family since 1978.

The Nilssons have launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $20,000 in donations, citing financial duress that has added "pressure to relocate," from the thriving Andersonville retail corridor.

The deli said on the campaign page that it "prides itself on supplying everything their customers need for the smörgåsbord — the traditional Scandinavian buffet-style holiday meal — and everything Scandinavian."

During the holiday season, the neighborhood staple is "overrun with customers trying to keep holiday traditions alive" —  but "lackluster business in the offseason has left Erickson's struggling to make ends meet," according to the campaign page.

The store also has been hurt by rumors that it is closed.

In the fall, somebody incorrectly edited a Google listing and said that the place was permanently closed, according to Ann-Britt Nilsson, who said she didn't realize it until a month and a half ago.

"By the time it was corrected, the damage was done," she said, adding that Erickson's ships items all over the country. "That cut my October and November business by about 50 percent."

Ann-Britt Nilsson said she wants fans and customers to spread the word "that we're still open."

The 60-year-old co-owner said she "never thought I would be using a social media fundraiser, plus asking for people to come in more," to save Erickson's.

But keeping the place open hasn't been easy.

Ann-Britt Nilsson's 92-year-old mother had a stroke about eight years ago and has had health problems that are "catching up."

Unfortunately, she said, the fundraising campaign hasn't taken off yet. With 35 days to go in the campaign, only $75 dollars had been donated as of Monday morning, according to the website.

To donate to Erickson's cause, go to its Indiegogo campaign page — or visit the store.