Chicago Tribune about our neighborhood organic grocer True Nature Foods joining forces with the Heartland Cafe. They are pulling up their roots and transplanting them 1.5 miles to the North. This movement is brought about almost entirely by the upcoming opening of Whole Foods.
While I am sorry to see them ago, I can't say I blame them. Whole Foods is a juggernaut, and from a competitive standpoint has organic stuff cheaper and better displayed. It's hard to argue with that.
When we first moved to the neighborhood in September I was excited to see the store. I stopped in and asked the owner Paula (quoted in the article) how they were going to deal with Whole Foods impending doom. She said she thought they could co-exist. I thought it might be possible, because True Nature is very much a community, and will still be a community when all is said and done. But that community will be shopping at Whole Foods also. I was afraid it would be too rough a road for them.
Their move to the Heartland is a good fit, and will serve both as a locus for organic/vegetarian community and as a service to an under-grocered community. I think it could really work well.
As it says, there will be a hole in the area. I'm hoping a bike shop moves in.
Let's hope that Whole Foods doesn't want to expand into Rogers Park next (they are not so far away in Evanston, but just far enough)
Here's a great quote from the story:
"If the spirits call me to another place," she told herself, "I'll know."
It was the depths of winter when Tom Rosenfeld called. Companio had known Rosenfeld for a decade, since she started stocking apples from his organic orchard, Earth First Farms. In 2012, he bought the legendary Heartland Cafe in Rogers Park and has since worked to spruce it up while staying true to its hippie roots.
On the day he phoned, he asked Companio to come to dinner there, saying only that he had a crazy idea.
She went, thinking he wanted to talk about apple butter. What he proposed instead was that she move her entire operation—stock, staff, co-ops, everything—into the Heartland, as a partner in the business.
She didn't hesitate. Deal.