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Looming ALDI Closure Upsetting Southside Residents

PEORIA – Southside residents are upset about the looming closure of the community's only grocery store. Some say the void will leave a costly burden on people's wallets.
PEORIA – Southside residents are upset about the looming closure of the community's only grocery store.
Some say the void will leave a costly burden on people's wallets.
Next month, this ALDI store on Western Avenue will serve its last customer. It will close on January 23rd.
"The evaporation of grocery stores on the south end continues to be a tragedy,” said resident Agbara Bryson.  
With the store’s departure, there is no longer a full service grocery store in Peoria's First District, including the Southside.
Bryson, a Peoria native, calls it a major blow and a health risk as more people will flock to local fast food chains.
"Individuals on the South end are already inundated with high blood pressure, diabetes and fatty foods, so to see ALDI leave is a sad, sad day,” Bryson said.
The store - along with another location in East Peoria - is closing with the opening of a new spot in East Peoria’s Levee District.  In a statement, an ALDI spokesperson said “the replacement store is located within two miles of the existing locations."
Councilwoman Denise Moore worries about low-income residents who depend on walking to buy groceries.
"There is a grocery store, Kroger, on Harmon Highway, but it's quite a distance away. You just can't walk to Harmon Highway, like you can walk to ALDI," she said.  
She says many people on the Southside went to that ALDI because it is what they could afford.
"Now you're forcing them to go to a convenience store where the prices are much higher. You can get much less in smaller quantities. And so the income of those individuals is being severely impacted now, because they have to spend more for less."
The First District council woman says she's already started research on viable replacement options. And starting Monday - she's asking city staff to figure out what can be done.
The ALDI locations on Western Avenue and Main Street in East Peoria will close on January 23. The Levee District store in East Peoria will open the next day.
ALDI says all employees of the closing stores will be transferred to other locations in the Peoria area.
 
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