Exciting Funding News

Today Chicago Market was selected by Mayor Lori Lightfoot to receive
over $5 million in grant funds to
make our store a reality!

We've worked diligently as a Co-op, building up one of the largest start-up Owner bases in the country — 2,200 now! And together we've raised over $1.6 million to fund our store. This large investment from the City recognizes you, recognizes your shared community values and goals, and it clears the path for the final phase of our development.

As a part of the pre-construction phase we've been in, you've heard us talk many times about the hiring of our General Manager, Dan Arnett. Well, we are now fast approaching the time when he really gets to hit his stride and do what he does best - and has done successfully throughout the country - run amazing co-ops and build community! When he found out about the news he was, as were we all, extremely excited and shared with us that he felt that,

"Chicago Market will be a catalyst for change—in the Uptown community and beyond, in our neighbors' lives, and in creating a better food system for both producers and consumers. I am proud to be a part of such an amazing organization and, with this latest announcement, cannot even express how excited I am to get things moving forward towards store open in 2023! I am, as always, committed to building and running the store that you all have been working toward and dreaming about for years now and want to thank you all for inviting me to be a part of this amazing co-op community we're building together!"

We agree with Dan and, while the work is far from over (in fact, some of the hardest work begins now), we are so very excited to be sharing this news with you!

What can you do?
Well first, grab a friend and raise a toast to yourself for making this happen!

Then, invite your friends to join you as an Owner. Now is the time for them to get on board and be part of this incredible store. And if you're a Founding Owner, Level Up today. As our GM says, you'll be "store famous" as we recognize Cultivating Owners for their early extra financial push.

Not yet an Owner? JOIN today!

Why do we still need new Owners? Three reasons. It will solidify our position with the bank if they see strong Owner participation. Every dollar that Owners contribute to the business lowers the amount of debt we'll need to pay off through a bank. And lastly, it will make our store so much stronger to have more Owners ready to shop the day we open!

Today, July 18, 2022, is an amazing day in Chicago Market's story! Thank you for being part of it and let's get the next steps rolling!

So, what is next?

There is now SO much to do and it looks like this:

  •  Grant Funding: We’ll be working with the the City's Department of Planning and Development (DPD) on next steps which include Community Development Commission (CDC) review and approval; negotiation of a Redevelopment Agreement (RDA); then approval of that RDA by City Council. These things tend to take time, but we have indication from DPD that they'd like to fast-track this with us and we hope to be in front of the CDC very soon.

  •  Bank loan: Having this City grant support at this level means we can now meet with banks to negotiate terms. That work starts in earnest right away and our intent is to close on that loan by late fall.

  •  Basement remediation: In order to use the basement as we'd like, the moisture there needs to be addressed and we're scheduling a series of contractors to do that work beginning within the next two weeks. 

And when will our store be open?
Once we close on the bank loan, we expect to begin store construction by the end of the year. Our permitting and construction timeline is about 9+ months, so we expect to be open by mid-late 2023.

Speaking of 2023, it turns out that is the 100 year anniversary of our beautiful home, the Gerber building! So together we'll celebrate Gerber's 100th as our Co-op celebrates Day One.

A few thank you's are in order. First, we have to thank each and every one of you - the Chicago Market Owners! Without you, this project would never have seen the light of day. This is, and will always be, your Market.

Beyond that, we Owners all owe a great debt of gratitude to Alderman James Cappleman for his tireless support of our business for so many years — as an Owner, as an investor, and as a City advocate. Always at our side too has been the Uptown Chamber of Commerce — the whole team there now, including executive director Sarah Wilson, but also special thanks to past director Martin Sorge who advocated for us so much in the early years. We're also pleased to have the ongoing support of Alderman Harry Osterman — though we're not in his Ward, he does love good food in Uptown!

And lastly, thanks to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) for welcoming us into their building and encouraging and supporting us through the process. 

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