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Mar 12 / Neal

Support a Mariano’s Supermarket in Galewood

The following letter is from local attorney Larry Andolino. Mr. Andolino is a long-time community resident and has been active in promoting Galewood for decades.

We have a great opportunity to join together once again to make a positive impact on our community and in a refreshing change of circumstances we can support a positive commercial use instead of fighting against negative uses.

Mariano’s Foods is exploring opening a store near North and Harlem Avenue! This is welcome news for this community especially after our hard fought battle against EZ Pawn. As we are all aware, we have been in a constant battle to prevent the deterioration of our business district from poor zoning choices to allow liquor stores and pawn shops that have a negative impact on our economic development and home values.

Sadly, as of late, these negative uses have taken center stage under the guise that the uses are ok because “they fill vacancies”. It has been the community that has had to join together to fight these harmful uses because the officials charged with protecting us will not do so. Mariano’s is exactly the type of development that this community needs. Grocery stores are essential components of livable and well-functioning communities and can enhance their broader economic and social health.

This store will bring jobs to the community, reasonable prices, and healthy foods.. What our community needs and desires is a thriving family friendly business district, with anchor establishments that will encourage further growth and development.

Mariano’s is the type of business that can accomplish this goal and be catalyst to bring other positive uses to our community. This store would help boost the area’s economic vitality and attract additional investment and development to the Austin community. We can be known for having an upscale and respectable grocery store in our business district instead of a community of pawn shops and liquor stores.

Just as we came together as a community to express our dissatisfaction with poor and haphazard economic development, we should come together to encourage the type of business our community needs and desires. It would be helpful if we could all take the time to sign our online petition in a show of support for this potential store. If we show an overwhelming initiative to express our support of this use directly to Mariano’s, it may be the deciding factor in ensuring this business takes up residence is our community.

This proactive course of action has worked before. It was community outreach directly to Starbucks Corporate that persuaded Starbucks open on North Avenue. There is no reason why this will not work again and we have a great opportunity to show our support.

We as a community must not only be proactive in safeguarding our commercial district, property values and safety, but must also be proactive in encouraging the developments we seek to come to our community. The best indicator as to whether there is a need and market for a business is the people that will patronize it. Please be sure to take a few minutes out of your day and place a call or email to our potential new neighbor in a show of support. Together, we can have a say and proactively shape our community and business district.

Larry Andolino

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