If They Build It, Will We Shop?


In the midst of a world-wide global recession, some local entrepreneurs just opened a grocery store in Park Forest.

Will we shop?

There was genuine excitement Sunday morning as the first shoppers walked the aisles at Orchard Fresh Market. They helped themselves to a complimentary cup of coffee and began exploring.

And, yes, there were a few rough edges. Workers were still learning how to use the scales, check out clerks were still learning how to weigh produce.  But it was only 7:25 a.m. on the first day the store was open.

The owners were all on hand to assist. Even two members of the Park Forest Police Department were among the first shoppers. Officers Hoskins and DeCeault took time between calls to browse with the rest of those checking out the new shopping experience.

Face it, some of us can be our own worst enemies when it comes to supporting businesses in our town.

Sometimes we are hypercritical. Some of us will drive 40 miles round trip to buy a $3.00 bottle of wine instead of driving one or two miles to CVS Pharmacy or Walgreens for a bottle of Merlot.

Think about that for a minute.

In spite of the recession, we are still buying food. We know there is a lot of “disposable income” in Park Forest, and we know that we spend much of it in other communities.

We can’t let things like this happen any more.

None of this means we have to settle for less. After spending five minutes in Orchard Fresh Market, you’ll see this is not Sterk’s. The owners scrubbed the store from top to bottom, and then back up to the top again. The produce is fresh, and the meat department looks great.

I went home with two thick butterfly pork chops, one of which I grilled and ate with a cheese omelet. Couldn’t resist. It hit the spot before church.

Now it’s up to us. It’s time to change our shopping patterns and tell our neighbors about this store, and all the others in town as well. Supporting local businesses is a win-win for Park Forest.

Over the next few weeks, eNews Park Forest will begin compiling a business directory. All businesses in town will be permitted one free entry showing business name, type of business, address, and a link to a Web page if appropriate. We’ll offer more categories like an email link and photographs for a modest price.

Park Forest has a directory prepared and available online with the names of all businesses that registered with the Village. The 2009/2010 directory is being compiled now. Check it out. Let your neighbors know what you find.

Did you know that Tattler’s sells sandwiches to go, that their Reuben sandwich is “to-die-for,” as is the the chicken marsala at Bixby’s?

Park Forest, they built it. The new grocery store is here.

Now let’s go shopping.