As the pandemic drags on, few have escaped the stress of grocery shopping. What was once a weekly “to do,” requiring little thought, is now a dreaded job full of obstacles including face masks, gloves, long lines, empty shelves, diminished options and a general sense of needing to get in and out as quickly as possible. Even those who have turned to online shopping have come across delivery delays, lousy produce and incorrect orders.
These are the experiences you will not find at South Oak Park’s Carnival Grocery, 824 S. Oak Park Ave. What has historically been the neighborhood’s best kept secret has been garnering the attention of Oak Park residents….and Chicagoland media. Segments profiling Carnival have appeared on local affiliates for NBC, CBS, Fox32, and ABC, as well as pieces in the Wednesday Journal , Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun Times. Not to mention, owner Arthur Paris received a handwritten thank you note from Senator Don Harmon.
What is all the attention about? Ironically, much of it is about how Carnival has pivoted and grown to meet community needs, while remaining true to its reputation as a neighborhood sanctuary of sorts. How Carnival always has parking, rarely has lines and never feels crowded is a bit of a mystery considering business has significantly increased. But the fact of the matter is, the same easy going neighborhood vibe remains, complete with a helpful and pleasant personal touch that simply cannot be found at big box grocers and chain stores.
Community members couldn’t be more appreciative. North Oak Park resident Suze Solari now shops exclusively at Carnival, stating “When the lines started to form and the crowds began clearing out shelves at Pete’s and Jewel, I hit my limit. The experience of shopping for groceries became unpleasant, and I didn’t feel safe. Discovering Carnival has taken the stress of grocery shopping away100%.”
Carnival is currently working on building an online platform, and in the meantime, customers are invited to call the store at (708) 848-1340 to order groceries over the phone or email orders to Carnival785@gmail.com. Curbside pickup as well as home delivery are available with typically less than a 24 hour wait. Paris wants shoppers to be as comfortable as possible, and is above all grateful for the community support.