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Buying Power of The South Side Overlooked

By Camela Furry in Miscellaneous on Sep 3, 2009 3:40PM

North Kenwood
During an interview with Chicago Public Radio, North Kenwood resident Lauren McCadney says she chose to live in the South Side neighborhood because of its parks and affordability - but to shop for groceries or other household items, she has to get in her car and make a “destination trip” to a Dominick’s or Target. McCadney says she spends between $500-$700 a month for groceries, dining out, and trips to Target, money spent outside her community which she believes could ultimately support the business.

According to Chicago Public Radio:

“What McCadney is doing, spending dollars outside of one’s home community, is called retail leakage. A WBEZ analysis examined retail leakage in Chicago neighborhoods. Thirty neighborhoods have more than 50 percent retail leakage. Of those, 20 are on the South Side. Almost all are majority-black neighborhoods. In 2007, residents in these neighborhoods spent a collective $3.8 billion outside of their own South Side communities.”

Jack Cowan, Business Manager of LISC Chicago a nonprofit that promotes neighborhood growth told Chicago Public Radio that buying power and income are not necessarily related, “The concentration of incomes, in specifically middle-income families, is great enough that in almost every Chicago neighborhood there is more buying power than in suburban neighborhoods and including affluent neighborhoods like the Wilmette’s of the world. Your average Chicago neighborhood - because of the dense population - has more money in the pockets of people going to stores.”

To read more about how public policy determines the success of neighborhood development in Chicago like North Kenwood, check out the rest of the interview.