The 13,000-square-foot grocery store at 6209 W. North Ave. is reopening after about a year-long hiatus, and its new owner, Angelo Palivos, is looking to Oak Parkers and Galewood residents to help make it a success.
Palivos, who is the third owner of the store in four years, said in a recent tour of the forthcoming Oak Park Market that he has kept a close eye on the Facebook groups like the Northeast Oak Park Community Group to get a better idea of what patrons are hoping to find there.
He said nearby residents have said in the online conversation that they want the store to "cater to the Oak Park community, and that's going to make it a success."
Palivos also has consulted with Oak Park Village Trustee Deno Andrews to get a better idea of what will and won't work at the location.
Palivos aims to open the store on Sept. 22 and will highlight organic products that appeal to vegetarian and vegan consumers. Oak Park Market also will offer a selection of wine and craft beer, along with a small selection of liquor, among other products, he said.
"I need Oak Park to support it," he said.
North Avenue Fresh Market closed its doors in July 2014 and reopened under new ownership as Market Fresh Foods in February 2015.
Judith Alexander, chair of The North Avenue District, said in an email that her organization believes Oak Park Market "can do better than its two predecessors by focusing more on the immediate neighborhoods of Galewood and north Oak Park with organic products, craft beer, quality wine and so forth."
She hopes the owner works to attract new customers by offering samples from featured food producers like cheese and sausage makers and provides special offers for residents who join their email list.
"We will do everything we can to help, reminding those who get our e-newsletter or belong to our Facebook community page that if we want appealing retail on North Avenue, we need to patronize those establishments," Alexander wrote.
Palivos said Oak Park Market also will feature a meat counter with Boar's Head products, fresh seafood, freshly baked bread and cookies and a hot-food counter with meals ready to eat. He's also looking into establishing a delivery service for those interested in ordering their groceries online.
Oak Park Market will employee about 20 people, Palivos said.
Andrews, who lives near the location, said he has worked to help put Palivos in touch with residents to get local buy-in on the new store to help make it a success.
"It's several notches above what was there," Andrews said in a telephone interview.
He said Palivos asked him to post about the store in his Facebook group Northeast Oak Park Community Group. "There were over 300 comments, so the community stepped up and gave a lot of feedback about what they want."
He added that "it's nice to see a responsive business owner who wants to work with the community in creating something they are going to want to attend."
Andrews said he believes that if the store is able to get a liquor license, it will greatly improve its chances of success at the location.
"There's nowhere to get craft beer or a bottle of wine in northeast Oak Park," he said.
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