By: Abby Lowe
Have you ever walked through your local grocery store wishing there was something different? Whether it be more local foods, different farmers, or even a new type of popcorn, there is always a new idea that can be brought to the table. Thankfully the upcoming co-op grocery store in Chicago (Rogers Park Food Co-Op) can lend you a hand.
Rogers Park Food Co-Op is a new grocery store that is going to be located in the Rogers Park/ Evanston area (it is not set in stone yet). This unique grocery store was started by a woman named Mary Meyer, a retired businesswoman who was looking for a grocery store that serves the community. The store will offer much more than your regular chain simply because it’s directly connected to the community in a number of ways. The first being that the store is a co-op, meaning anyone who wants to become a part owner, can. Buying a share of the grocery store at $250 will guarantee you ownership in the grocery store, and will allow you to voice ideas and opinions about it. Not only does it benefit yourself, but also everyone in the surrounding area. The grocery store will be using local farmers and vendors for the freshest foods available, and will also be providing more career opportunities to those in the area. As stated on their website, “The mission of the Rogers Park Food Co-op is to strengthen our diverse community through inclusive economic growth, ethical food production, and programs centered on food and social justice.” As one can tell, this will be much more than just a place to buy food; it will be a staple in the community.
The idea for this grocery store came about four years ago and has been growing ever since. Because the store is a co-op, it takes time for the company to grow into what it needs to be. There are different phases of the growth in corporations like this, and Rogers Park Food is quickly working its way up the ladder. There are currently 315 shareowners and Rogers Park Food is working on obtaining a little over one hundred more to move to the next phase of the project. Two hundred of these people became owners in last year alone, so the company is growing rapidly. This is an extremely exciting time for those who have bought shares in the store because now they have become part- owners and can watch THEIR company grow.
Their newest owner, Ebony Ambrose stated that she was “I was really drawn to join after I read the mission.‘Diversity’ and ‘inclusive economic growth’ really resonated with me. This makes sense in a neighborhood like ours. This is Rogers Park.” Many grocery store chains have local and organic food to sell, but none of them offer what Rogers Park Food will: groceries that will connect directly back to you and your community.