Ukrainian Village residents look to bring grocery store to the 'hood

July 26, 2012|By Mick Swasko | RedEye

UPDATE: Plenty has surpassed their $15,000 goal, but still accepting donations until Wednesday afternoon. The kickstarter can be found here.

Davey Sommers wants to be Ukrainian Village's friendly neighborhood grocer. With the help of some crowd funding, he's nearly there.

But the 27-year-old from the neighborhood needs about $3,000 more in funds for his Kickstarter campaign to bring a fully stocked food store--which he and partner Gwen Harley are calling Plenty Grocery and Deli--to 2036 W. Division.  

"It's all or nothing, you need a certain amount of money to make the projects happen," he said of the $15,000 goal to get the store off the ground. So far, he and Harley have already secured the 1,500-square-foot space, ordered equipment and reached out to other small grocers to plan ahead for a late August opening, if they are successful in reaching their goal. The final full day to donate is July 31.

"We'll have a full line of groceries and produce, covering all the bases to make a great meal," he said.

What makes Plenty different from big-box stores and other neighborhood shops is the focus on the specific "tastes" of those in Ukrainian Village and neighboring Wicker Park, where he said options for food shopping within walking distance are few. He said the organic and locally produced products the shop hopes to carry are rarely found in larger stores and aim to cater to what the locals want.

"People (in the area) are really looking for healthy foods, more people are identifying themselves as vegetarians and vegans," he said.

Sommers also said those who pledge money at different levels stand to get bonuses for their contributions, from free grocery bags to "food subscriptions," where those who have helped fund the store will get extra items each month.

"It's definitely going to be a challenge, it's new," Sommers said, adding that he's worked with small businesses and startups before, but never in the grocery market. "Everyone is really rooting for the cause, even if they're not able to donate. We definitely have a good chance (of hitting the goal) moving forward."

mswasko@tribune.com | @mickswasko

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