Acho, Group To Convert Liquor Store Into Food Mart

Former Bears linebacker Sam Acho is leading an initiative for change in Chicago.

Chris Emma
July 08, 2020 - 9:38 am

(670 The Score) In early June, former Bears linebacker Sam Acho formed a team that included 10 professional athletes from four major sports who were seeking change in Chicago. Now, that group has grown and its actions are at work.

Acho and 21 other athletes, executives and public figures bought a liquor store in Chicago's Austin neighborhood with the intention of converting it into a food mart to be run by local residents -- and kids in particular. It's part of the group following through on a plan formed June 4, when Acho and 10 athletes met with kids in Austin and local police to discuss how they could create change.

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The group learned in June that Austin has 17 liquor stores but just two food marts in a half-mile radius. 

"This is what change looks like," Acho tweeted Monday night after the liquor store was purchased.

The group held an event Monday to commemorate the purchase, with notable attendees including NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago police superintendent David Brown, each of whom offered donations to the cause.

The initial team of athletes joining Acho included Mitchell Trubisky and Allen Robinson of the Bears, Jason Heyward and Jason Kipnis of the Cubs, Jonathan Toews and Malcolm Subban of the Blackhawks, Ryan Arcidiacano and Max Strus of the Bulls, Tyler Lancaster of the Packers and Austin Carr of the Saints. Lancaster and Carr are Northwestern products.

The group has expanded to include Bears general manager Ryan Pace, Bears offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr., former Bears and current Lions quarterback Chase Daniel and former Bears defensive lineman Israel Idonije. White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito joined the group too, as did Jets center Jimmy Murray and Panthers offensive tackle Matt Kaskey, who both have Chicago-area ties.

There were also donations made by former Bears linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, who's now with the Raiders, and Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, both of whom couldn't attend the ceremony.

A donation of $500,000 was made to purchase the liquor store in Austin, the beginning of what Acho plans to be ongoing initiatives in that neighborhood and many others in Chicago.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.