Peoria residents protest closing of Aldi

By Beau Ebenezer

January 18, 2014 Updated Jan 18, 2014 at 10:55 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- The message was loud and clear in Peoria's 1st district.

For many, losing the neighborhood's only full-service grocery store was the final straw.

"I just feel like the south-end has been dismissed for awhile," said protester, Cassandra Harris. "There hasn't been any buildings down here. Nothing is going on down here. We need help."

"If we lost this revenue and a lot of revenue that comes through this area, it is going to hurt us really bad," said another protester, Johnnie Sims.

Aldi will close their Western Avenue store next Friday.

They plan to open a new location in the Levee District on the same day.

But there are still many questions as to why the store chose to leave the lower income area.

"They have not talked to us," said Peoria City Councilwoman Denise Moore. "When you don't talk to the citizens or the city, that tells me that you have no regard for the people you have been taking money from for the last 24 years. That is unfortunate."

The relocation seems to be a trend in surrounding areas.

At the protest, Moore announced that Aldi in Pekin is expected to close as well.

Pekin's Housing Authority notified her that the store will move to North Pekin.

Meanwhile, Peoria's South Side community is already looking for new options.

One idea brought up at the rally was for citizens to purchase the building and create their own "grocery super store".

Councilwoman Moore said the city is looking at several options to bring retail grocery to the area.