Food-Sourcing Update from Team GLRP



Your Board has built out a number of teams,  each of which has a focus. Recently, you learned about the work of Site Selection & Design, developing site selection criteria and reaching out to real estate brokers. This week, I want to update you on a team I lead called Grocery Logistics, Retail and Procurement, or GLRP for short (we smile and pronounce it GLuRP).

What does GLRP do? This team is tasked with doing all of the necessary research about our local foodshed. We want to know what local foods are out there; who is growing or producing enough of them and would like to work with us; and what supplies and costs will be for us. GLRP is also researching facilities logistics – what are the costs and space needs for the in-store facilities we know you want like prepared foods for eat-in or carryout; juice and coffee bars; and food preservation. GLRP is researching all these things so that when we find and hire our first general manager, we’ll be able to hand over a wealth of information to get him or her started off on the right foot.

As you can imagine, grocery stores need some definition of the kinds of goods they’ll sell. For Chicago Market, a store with a very particular mission centered around local foods, this is extremely important. Our team set out to write a broad set of Purchasing Guidelines that would steer what we carry in the store. As we worked, we found it was more appropriate to title them “Purchasing Values” since they reflect the values you, our Owners, hold dear in your food shopping. Right this minute we are sharing our draft with a few farmers and producers to get their feedback – we want our farmers and producers to feel like this is their store as well and that it meets their needs, so this is Chicago Market’s first effort at including them in the process.

One of the most exciting things to happen in GLRP though is the fact that we recently grew our ranks. Fellow Board member and former grocery store buyer Mark Ahlheim and I got GLRP off the ground, but we can’t do all this work alone.  We’re thrilled to have drawn in volunteers Mike Mayer and Kate Jakubas to our team. You may recognize Mike’s name – he ran for a position on the Board of Directors in the fall. He and his wife Kate run a wonderful company called Meliora K, a Certified B Corporation based in Chicago that makes healthy, simple laundry and household soaps.  Both have rolled up their sleeves and helped GLRP make rapid advances toward our goals. And because they are suppliers for grocery stores, they bring terrific perspective to our conversations.

How can you help GLRP? Well, if volunteering like Kate and Mike are doing appeals to you, send me an email.

You can also help us with this project – linked to our Purchasing Values will be a definition Chicago Market holds for the term “local”. But what is local exactly? There is no legal definition. No certifying body defines local. Yet we all operate from a sense of what local is and what it means to us. So, in an effort to understand how you, our Owners and our shoppers feel about the best way to define local for Chicago Market, we’ve put up a super short survey for you. Click here to help us understand how you view "local."


Grant Kessler

Board Liaison to Grocery Logistics, Retail and Procurement


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