This week, Laura and Joelle are joined by Grant Kessler. Grant is a Chicago Market owner and sits on the Board of Directors. Established in 2013, Chicago Market will be a big, bright, beautiful community-owned grocery store which exists to rebuild the connection between food producers and consumers. While Chicago Market is not open yet, it will be coming to the Wilson CTA Station in Uptown in the 13,000 square foot, restored historic Gerber Building.
“This is an open grocery store and welcomes all people in the community; we want everybody shopping there.”
– Grant Kessler
Listen to Episode 44 with Grant Kessler!
Here are some references from Episode 44 that you may want to check out:
- Grant loves to cook at home and cooks with local sustainable foods. Over time he connected with farmers and became a local food advocate. Grant is also a food photographer, so his passion and work intersected in this wonderful way and his interested aligned with the mission of the Chicago Market. You can view his food photography work here: Grant Kessler Photography
- Chicago Market is a co-op driven by mission and vision. They are not beholden to profit margin like larger chain grocery stores and will work to best meet needs of community due to their grassroots ownership. Chicago Market is open for all.
- Grassroots ownership means Chicago Market is owned by the community. Owners of the market live, work and own businesses in the community.
- Chicago Market will be considered big for a coop at 13,000 sf. once open, but they will still carry a smaller footprint than traditional grocery stores which are usually 75,000 sf.
- Chicago Market seeks to make a strong impact on farm community and bring healthier foods into the city. Chicago doesn’t have a strong local food distribution system and Chicago Market hopes to improve this and connect people back to their food.
- Owner rights which come with both direct and indirect benefits. Ownership begins with coop selling shares to the community. There are two levels of ownership: Cultivating and Founding ownership, and shares are purchasable online or at Chicago Market informational events. Learn more here.
- Direct Benefits of ownership include: voting rights in the business, a patronage refund which consists of a percentage of profit given back to owners at the end of the year if no major expenses are incurred, discounts in store on products and workshops, and a Chicago Market tote bag to shop with.
- Indirect benefits of ownership include: hiring locally and providing jobs to the community by helping to open the store. Chicago Market has a strong commitment to hire in the neighborhood.
- Chicago Market is sustainably-oriented and participate in sustainability efforts like #SheddTheStraw. They don’t have their market space yet by will keep straw use down.
- Chicago market will carry bulk food with an emphasis on reducing plastic. They will also carry beer, wine, liquor, olive oil, and coffee from sustainable roasters. They will carry as much as possible from local regional growers and makers.
- They will also host workshops and cooking classes on how to cook with the food they sell. One class might even feature making fruit preserve. Chicago Market is developing a partnership with neighboring Truman College to hold classes and events.
- Currently, Chicago Market has 1500 owners and has upcoming recruitment session to encourage new owners and reach their spring goal of 2,000. Chicago Market will host their next Market Owner Info Session this coming Saturday, January 26 at 5PM at TrueNorth Café ( ). Learn more here.
- Business can also become owners of Chicago Market! Currently, featured Andersonville business owners include: Big Jones (5347 N Clark) , Candyality (5225 N Clark), The SoFo Tap (4923 N Clark) , Meeting House Tavern (5025 N Clark), and the Andersonville Farmers Market
- Chicago Market is hosting a Mixer at Meeting House Tavern on January 31 from 6-8PM.
“We are super excited about the location; it is just beautiful.”
– Grant Kessler
- Chicago Market is set to open in April of 2020 in the Arthur Gerber Building which was built in 1923. It is a beautiful terra cotta beaux arts building. The CTA renovated it left empty when it moved the Wilson El station across the street. The location for the Chicago Market is highly accessible, transit friendly and has a parking lot. Click here for an article about the historic Gerber Building
- Grant chose Big Jones as the business he would trade places with. Grant may not be a commercial kitchen person, but loves to cook at home and wants to learn from Chef Paul. Paul has a strong ethos around local food sourcing, as does Andersonville as a neighborhood in general. For example, Lost Larson (5318 N Clark) is buying grains from the mill at Janie’s Farm, and Vincent (1475 W Balmoral) and Hopleaf (5148 N Clark) also source from local farms.
Visit Chicago Market on the following platforms: