In the fall of 2019, we faced the understanding that our construction costs at the former Wilson 'L' station location, the Gerber building, were very high and that the inefficiency of the shape of our space raised our labor costs such that the project did not look viable.
Our consultants agreed that the project as planned was not viable.
The Board voted on the operational, financial, and organizational feasibility of the project as planned and at that point in time and opted to step away from the Gerber building.
But our landlords at the CTA did not want to see us leave, and began talks with us to find solutions. We took that thinking to a fresh set of eyes, Firebrand Cooperative, for an 8 week feasibility assessment and they determined that in fact, our grocery store is financially and operationally feasible at the Gerber building. (Read more about their results here.)
Note that their assessment for success assumes certain items will work out in our negotiations with the CTA, which are ongoing.
One of the components of the Firebrand assessment we're most excited about is their support for every grocery budget within our community. They recommend a Food For All program with a regular discount, as well as basics product lines, bulk food and other promotions for the price-conscious
We plan to accept LINK and will pursue LINK doubling too as our friends at the Dill Pickle and Sugar Beet have done. And we have just approved a low-cost Ownership level that we'll be making available soon that we hope will welcome more voices into our Owner community.
We are proud to have done our due diligence to prove this site can be operationally and financially feasible. We are eager to move forward to realize our Vision of a better food community - local, sustainable, connected. Our Owners and supporters want a community hub that features local food, local ownership and local control of our food system. And we also want to act sustainably, reducing plastics and packaging and carefully managing food waste.
The last piece of the puzzle though is Cooperative Principle #3, Member Economic Participation. Opening our store requires Owners and members of the community who want this Co-op to participate financially - we can't do this without you becoming an Owner; without you donating; without you lending. We'll need to raise a lot of the funding together.
Connect with us over these shared values and let's build this together. You can help by becoming an Owner, Leveling Up your Ownership to the Cultivating level, donating or pledging a loan, volunteering, or considering a Board position and by sharing your enthusiasm for your Co-op with your friends and on social media.
We are stronger together and your Co-op needs you now more than ever!
updated September 2020
Chicago Market wants to change the way you shop for groceries. More than that, though, we want to change your relationship with food.
You deserve a new kind of grocery-shopping experience — one packed with local, organic foods and imbued with a sense of community. One in which you know who produces the food that feeds your family.
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