Sugar Beet Food Co-operative hopes to open this summer. | File photo

The Sugar Beet food cooperative is in the third week of a 12-week build out of its store at 812 Madison St., and organizer and co-founder Cheryl Munoz says staff is hoping to get the doors open by early July.

Munoz tells Wednesday Journal that construction crews are busy installing plumbing and electrical lines for the store, and the Village of Oak Park has approved the requisite permits. 

Sugar Beet also is working to get a liquor license from the village to sell wine, beer and liquor, Munoz said. They plan to carry selections from local distilleries, she said.

The store also is hiring employees, she said, noting, “It’s amazing the amount of applications that are coming in.”

Munoz said all is going as planned except for a village ordinance that she said prohibits the vinyl depictions of radishes and carrots that take up more than 25 percent of the front windows of the store.

Such signage “has to be less than 25 percent of the window itself and we are well beyond the 25 percent,” she said.

She said Sugar Beet organizers are meeting with village officials this week to make their case for keeping the signs. The village government has also provided financial backing for the cooperative from the Madison Street TIF.

“It would probably be about $8,000 to replace it all,” she said.

Munoz noted that in addition to getting the store going, Sugar Beet is moving forward with the establishment of the Sugar Beet School House, a nonprofit organization separate from the store that is creating a community garden at Cheney Mansion.

The plan will invite community groups from around Oak Park to work the garden, which will harvest vegetables for the OPRF Food Pantry.


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