Mayor, Ald. Rainey Welcome GFS Marketplace to Evanston
On June 19, Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, Alderman Rainey, the Evanston Chamber of Commerce and members of the community welcomed GFS Marketplace to Evanston at a ribbon cutting ceremony at the store located at 2424 Oakton St. The store began construction in November of 2011 and was the first project to be built within new environmental guidelines passed by the Evanston City Council in 2009. According to Alderman Rainey, Gordon Foods has helped the City of Evanston "improve green building ordinances."
GFS Marketplace offers a unique shopping alternative for retail and wholesale consumers. Customers can shop without membership and purchase restaurant-quality items at excellent prices. The welcoming footprint of the 17,850 square-foot GFS Marketplace store and expert advice available from the staff distinguishes GFS Marketplace from traditional grocery and big box bulk food stores.
Last summer the city entered into an agreement with Gordon Foods to assist in the costs to remediate the site and provide improved foundational support of the earth at the site. At the time, GFS estimated that the total costs for site remediation and soil reinforcement would require an investment in excess of $300,000. After making a formal request to the Economic Development Committee and the City Council, GFS was approved for assistance in the amount of one third of the total remediation and earth reinforcement costs, not to exceed $100,000. Staff demonstrated that the new property and sales taxes generated annually for the city would range between $85,000 and $110,000.
Historically, this area of Evanston was once a mix of industrial, warehouse, municipal public works uses and public park/open space uses until the late 1990s. The site that GFS Marketplace sits on now was a clay pit and brickyard from the late 1800s to the mid 1930s. The pit was later filled and a steel plant and bus terminal were constructed on the site. Staff estimates that this steel plant was demolished in 2005 when the site was purchased for redevelopment purposes.
The new GFS Marketplace location will employ approximately 35 people. Among the new employees is an experienced management team with expertise in the food service industry. The team includes: Store Manager Brian Wells and Assistant Managers Susan Mercado, Jon Young and Shift Leader Ellen Alevras. At the ceremony, Mayor Tisdahl commended the team for doing an "incredible job of building a beautiful store very very quickly."
GFS Marketplace will be open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
After the ribbon cutting, the celebration will continue with a week of grand opening festivities to be held through June 23. There will be food tastings each day and shoppers can enter for a chance to win a $300 shopping spree. Shoppers will have an opportunity to sample some of GFS Marketplace’s most popular items at their Giant Taste Fest, which will be held on Friday, June 22 and Saturday, June 23.