Does where you live determine how far you can stretch a dollar on groceries?
Is healthy eating possible when the corner store is the most convenient place to shop?
Our intern Latricia Polk set out to answer these questions. She began by shopping at a couple corner stores in her Austin neighborhood. Then she jumped on and off the Green-Line trains that run through some of Chicago’s wealthiest and poorest neighborhoods.
Latricia’s first stop: New Food Market, at 5971 W. Madison St.
Her grocery list? A loaf of wheat bread, a gallon of milk, a carton of eggs, some cheese, apples, a pound of chicken and a box of cereal.
She struck out finding two things: apples and wheat bread. She opted instead for white bread, which cost $1.25.
Why do people shop here? Convenience, says Austin resident Eurethia Dear as she watched her granddaughter select a sweet drink from a cooler.
Next up was Corcoran Grocery, at 5601 W. Corcoran Place, just around the corner from the Central station.
The place looks promising. A mural advertises fresh produce.
There’s not an apple or any other fresh produce in sight. The closest thing was a bottle of orange juice. No chicken breast either. For $3.49, she could get a box of chicken wings or a package of hotdogs.
Latricia hops on the train and heads west.
Next stop: Whole Foods in the swanky suburb of River Forest, which sits at the western end of the Green-Line.
A single person would have spent nearly an entire weekly food-stamp allowance on the seven items on our grocery list.
Back on the train headed toward the Loop.
We decided to check out another corner store–One Eleven Food and Liquors, at 111 N. Kedzie Ave., in East Garfield Park. This store also boasted about its fresh produce and meat. But this store actually delivered on its advertising promise.
A one-pound package of chicken leg quarters sold for $1.61, and apples were priced at $1.29 per pound. One Eleven customer Donna Steele says she shops there every day because of their fresh options and because “the prices are right.”
Final stop: Jewel-Osco, at 370 N. Des Plaines St., in the West Loop.
Lots of young professionals live in the area. Their grocery options are wide open.
We found everything on our list–including the cheapest milk around, at $2.22 per gallon.