We are excited to announce that Prairie Food Co-op will be part of the Lilac Station project at 109 South Main - in the heart of Lombard! The project includes a four-story apartment building at 101 South Main - the corner of Parkside and Main - with a restaurant on the ground level. The Co-op will lease a separate, 10,000 square foot building at 109 South Main. A parking lot will connect the two buildings.
In today’s competitive food market, it is not just smart to be careful and thorough, it is necessary. Our soon-to-be home at 109 South Main in Lombard covers all the bases indicated by market and feasibility studies, as well as guidance from seasoned professionals in the industry. Our site is walkable, bike-able, and conveniently near the Lombard Metra Station. The Co-op will be across the street from Elmhurst-Edwards clinic and ideally located in a neighborhood setting.
Research factors included information about competitors’ sales in the greater metro area, the amount of traffic passing the downtown Lombard area, convenience, visibility, and accessibility. In the start-up world, food co-ops have slightly better odds of succeeding in the long term than their start-up peers. Even so, food co-ops that do not survive over the long term are most commonly in that position because they initially chose a site that was too small or a site that was not visible enough to the general public. We have avoided both pitfalls with our incredible location.
While Prairie Food Co-op will have a core group of committed shoppers, business from the more casual shopper is also important. Being on the corner of Parkside and Main Street downtown AND having 40 devoted parking spaces offers the vital visibility, convenience and accessibility required to be a successful business in the long term. Downtown and North side has been without a grocery store for over 20 years. In fact, the Village of Lombard's 2011 "Downtown Revitalization Guidebook" recommends a fresh market grocer in downtown.
The store will offer a wide variety of products with an emphasis on locally, sustainably produced goods. We are already working with dozens of interested family farms and local food producers to stock our shelves. The co-op will have an outdoor patio with potential for seasonal cafe, community gathering space with local music, and classes. Our Owners will have opportunities to provide input on the services they would like to see offered in our store.
Timeline to Open
Construction of the Lilac Station complex began in August 2021 with the co-op building scheduled to be completed by July 2022. We will then need 6-8 months to turn the space into the beautiful, inviting grocery store we have all been dreaming of.
But all of this only matters if you help! Our lease requires that we secure financing by December 15, 2021. We are busy planning our Community Investment Program now where Owners and community members have the opportunity to invest in the store and get a modest return on their investment. This is a Main Street investment opportunity to see your money being put to work right in your own community! For more details, click here.
Most of all, Prairie Food Co-op Market Board of Directors and devoted committees thank you for your patience and persistence to see this through all the way to the finish line!