Englewood Whole Foods supports local businesses

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Englewood Whole Foods supports local businesses
Whole Foods is scheduled to open a store in the Englewood neighborhood on Wednesday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Whole Foods is scheduled to open a store in the Englewood neighborhood on Wednesday.

Shoppers at the new Whole Foods may recognize products on the shelves made by their friends and neighbors. The national grocery store is bringing in local business owners to sell their food and products.

ABC7 spoke with two local entrepreneurs whose wares will be on sale at the store.

"When you actually see something you created being sold, it's a proud feeling, unbelievable," said David Fuller, one of Whole Foods' new suppliers.

David Fuller is one many business owners selected to be a supplier of Whole Foods. Fuller's company, Eating to Live, manufactures health conscious comfort food. Next week you'll find his greens in the Whole Foods hot bar.

"It just so happened they loved the greens," said Fuller. "I mean it's like a dream come true, I was waiting on a home run but it looks like I hit a grand slam."

The same sentiment was shared by Nadra Smiley. Her natural hair products are already on the shelves at the Hyde Park Whole Foods location and will also be sold at the Englewood location.

"I'm excited, I'm excited it's started so many possibilities. I'm overwhelmed and excited all at the same time," said Smiley. "Just to bring that exposure to the community to let them know, hey we're out here and we are making products with integrity that are for you."

The idea for the products started at her salon and beauty school in the heart of Englewood. But Smiley admitted that taking the product from in-house to the in-store shelves took a lot of work.

"So we would work on them a little bit they say is it ready and then they'd say, oh just change this and this then we'd go back and say is it ready and they'd say oh no you still haven't done this and that," said Smiley.

"They're learning the retail standards, whether it's FDA labeling, insurance requirements, how to get a commercial kitchen and they are also learning a lot about Whole Foods," said Whole Foods Local Forager Julie Blubaugh.

"So eventually it took a while it took like a year in the process to get to where we were comfortable and they were like, 'yes this is approved,'" said Smiley.

Seeing the finished product in the stores has made it all worthwhile.

"It's amazing. It's surreal, I'm like that's me," said Smiley.

The Englewood location will have over 35 local suppliers with products on the shelves.