Musing on food and cooking ...

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Pick N Save Has Closed

I needed to go shopping this weekend, as I had no milk, bread, or fruit and was too sick to try and make bread, even if I could go without milk or fruit for a while. So I decided to drop in at the nearest grocery store, which is the Pick N Save, located about three miles from my house on Belvidere, only to get there and discover it was shut down with a frightening sign in the window saying that the facility was permanent closed. Now I only go shopping every couple of weeks, so I was a little surprised by this happening, especially as the Pick N Save was always busy, partially because it was right on the local bus route, meaning that people without cars could actually get to the grocery store, rather than spending money at the local bodega, which is high priced and filled with pre-packaged food with nary a fruit nor veggie in sight.

The nearest grocery store to me now, at a 4-5 miles drive, is an Aldi's, which is a crap shoot at best and only takes cash. Just over the tollway from the Aldi's is a WalMart. The only other near options now, all at least five miles or more away, are the super-local super markets on Franklin Street., which are a hell of a lot better than the local bodega but are still dicey, depending on which one you go to and what day of the week it is.

On the one hand, I am lucky. I still have my car, which means I can choose to drive the ten miles to the Garden Fresh Market in Mundelein. I adore this grocery store and have since I moved here. But, still, it is a hike and I will need to rely on the local bodega for milk and whatnot or brave the rude socialites of Lake Forest to drop in at Don's Finest Foods. Still, the closing of the Pick N Save will be disasterous for that part of Waukegan. It is now officially a food desert.

A food desert is a term that is often applied to sections of the inner city that don't have access to anything but 7-11s or local bodegas. Food deserts are associated with high food costs, poor nutrition, high rates of obesity, and poverty. For this section of Waukegan to become a food desert is shocking, to say the least. Especially as the area is being revitalized - lots of new construction. Lots of new businesses. The only reason I can think of for the Pick N Save to have closed is that my neighborhood is more than 75% Latino and, perhaps, they are shopping at one of the super-local super markets, which are almost entirely Latino focused with a small smattering of Indian and Norte Americano thrown in.

Still, a revitalizing neighborhood will have difficulties sustaining that revitalization without easy access to some flagship supermarket. My hope is that someone will take over the space where the Pick N Save was and open a new store. Perhaps a Garden Fresh! Which would make me incredibly happy.

No comments: