Dill Pickle Food Co-op open in Logan Square

February 12, 2010 3:29:21 PM PST
After five years in the works, member-owners of Chicago's newest and only food co-op can taste the fruits of their labor. Those fruits are all organically-grown, locally produced or sustainably developed. At the Dill Pickle Food Co-op in the Logan Square neighborhood, shoppers can find fresh baked bread, organically-grown produce, milk and cheese from local dairy farms as well as a host of specialty products.

"We have a number of vendors from the Green City Market as well as from the Logan Square Markets that only work with us. We sell products at exactly the same price that they do because we don't want to compete with them," said Vinnie Hernandez, general manager, Dill Pickle Food Cooperative.

The goal is to offer high-quality food in the community at affordable prices while supporting local food producers.

"I think it's really important to keep our shopping in our own neighborhood, to keep our money circulating around our own neighborhood and also to get food that's raised as close as possible to Chicago," said Nancy Freehafer, member-owner.

Some 500 area-residents chipped in and raised about $150,000 to start the full-service grocery store. They say they were able to open using no bank loans. Now, they work to keep the proceeds circulating locally.

"We ask our member-owners and customers not to use credit cards because while it is the safest way to do transactions and the best way, that means a large percentage of our money disappears from the community and goes to larger banks," said Hernandez.

When the store opened in December it had to close the following weekend. It sold out of all its merchandise. Customers say this co-op is exactly what the neighborhood needed.

"It was just the feeling of a place where I knew that good people were making decisions about what to buy and what not to buy," said Holly Birnbaum, member-owner.

"Thumbs up. Good concept. I like it," said David Hill, first-time customer.

Just about all of the fixtures in the store are either donated or were reclaimed from a tear-down in the area.

Dill Pickle Food Co-op
773-252-COOP (2667)
Monday -through- Saturday | Noon - 8pm
and Sunday | 10am-6pm