WhatsGood, an innovative technology provider for online orders at local farmers markets, is opening the first in a series of Chicago-based Farm Shops in Lincoln Park on December 7th, 2021. WhatsGood’s Farm Shop is a small footprint grocery store with an array of locally curated products that will provide Chicagoans with in-store shopping and on-demand delivery. WhatsGood’s team can deliver everything you’d expect at the farmers market in about an hour.
“WhatsGood’s Farm Shop draws inspiration from the intimate relationship between food, community, and neighborhoods. These unique stores will showcase the finest foods and beverages locally produced by farmers and artisans. We are so passionate about locally sourced food that we want customers to be able to shop seasonally and locally all year long,” says Erin Tortora, WhatsGood’s chief operating officer. “Shoppers will find fresh, healthy, and organic food from sources they can know and trust.”
WhatsGood has operated in Chicago since 2018 in close partnership with Green City Market, South Loop, and other of Chicago’s best farmers markets. During the pandemic, WhatsGood provided critical eCommerce and home delivery services to help connect Chicago to its local food sources. More than 30,000 Chicagoans use WhatsGood to connect with more than 400 farmers, artisans, and chefs from Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan. Now WhatsGood is developing services and technologies to empower local food and beverage makers to sell direct to customers in local communities with Farm Shop; essentially filling a gap when farmers markets aren’t available. The company plans to open a WhatsGood Farm Shop in every neighborhood in Chicago and New England over the next two years.
Farm Shop products are locally sourced from farms and producers within a maximum of a 3-hour drive to the store. Shoppers will find produce from dozens of farms and makers like Jacobson Family Farms, Smits Farms, and Garfield Produce Company. Consumers will be able to pick up fresh bread baked daily from bakers like Bennison’s, Verzenay and fresh pasta from Empoli Chicago. They will also be able to grab high quality grass-fed beef, pastured pork, free-range chicken, heritage turkeys, artisan cheeses, granola, and prepared meals from a variety of local chefs. Every purchase will provide local food producers with 6-8 times higher margins than a traditional grocery store.
“The WhatsGood platform saved our business during the pandemic. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have survived 2020. Our products are in front of so many more people because of WhatsGood. The creation of the store is fantastic, now you will be able to grab and get our Finn’s Ranch eggs, beef and pork anytime,” said Alex Finn, Finn’s Ranch.
WhatsGood’s technology enhances the shopping experience both online and in-store. Open displays and ergonomic handmade wooden shelves are a cut above traditional grocery stores. The retail store colors, and decor differ from other grocery markets, mimicking the stark contrast of nature and modern city life while underpinning the presence of a bright future via technology. The manifestation of transparency in the food supply is apparent. Massive wooden barn doors separate the front shopping area of the store from the rear fulfillment portion. At times, shoppers will have the opportunity to watch and even meet farmers, artisans, and chefs dropping off their products or observe dozens of online orders being picked and packed for delivery.
“Our Farm Shop makes it possible for more people to experience what a farm fresh egg tastes like, or to bite into a locally grown apple and taste what fresh really is. It’s not just in the name. We want people to reconnect with their food and the farmers who’ve worked so hard to grow it, and understand that against challenges like a pandemic or rising food prices, local food systems will demonstrate resilience as they did in 2020,” explains Tortora.
The WhatsGood mission is to localize our food system by making fresh, nutrient dense, local food more accessible and convenient. Based on its home delivery and eCommerce technology that built partnerships with Chicago farmers markets (over 3 years ago), Farm Shop grocery stores are the next evolution in how WhatsGood accomplishes its mission and provides communities in Chicago with better access to high quality, local food. WhatsGood is developing services and technologies to empower local food communities and offer a better future for our food supply.
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Editor, International Bakery
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