Hints of Finishes

You may have noticed some changes to the outside of 2746 N. Milwaukee this week; storefront frames installed, a dip in the sidewalk fixed and replaced with a small ramp to where a new vestibule will sit. Today, inspectors examine our plumbing rough in, after which the snaking systems of pipes and conduit and wire that make up the complex innards of our new store will be sealed away behind slabs of drywall. Those attending our Pickle Preview construction tour this Sunday will see hints of finishes: floor tile in this room, painted ceilings there, and a sumptuous rust red epoxy coating the back of house floors. Walk in coolers will be installed and the dimension of rooms—prep rooms, restrooms, office space, kitchen—will be concrete, so to speak. I hope you’ll stop by this Sunday any time between 1 and 3pm to take a tour of the work and learn how you can help make the co-op opening in September a resounding success!

A Truly Majestic Ventilation Hood

Up until a few weeks ago, the monumental nature of the Dill Pickle’s relocation project was measurable in blueprints, in ledgers, in hours of meetings and, less tangibly (but more powerfully) in the hearts and minds of a couple thousand Chicagoans who believe cooperation can change their neighborhood for the better. Now all that imagining and head-scratching and fundraising and redrafting and more fundraising* is made manifest in steel and concrete.


This week hundreds of feet of conduit, ducts and plumbing lines were hung from the ceiling of the first floor and the basement. A truly majestic ventilation hood now hangs over where our future deli cook line will be. I can’t speak for the visitors who toured the future home of the co-op a couple weeks ago at our Pickle Preview, but I’m continually awed at the scope of what we’re putting together here.  

And of course the physical rig is but one facet of the Dill Pickle gem; we’re planning hiring fairs, posting for new positions and spending a lot of time talking about how all our roles will grow and change with the physical store. I hope you’ll come in to take a peek at the construction progress, ask lot of questions and hear tales of your staff and board’s expansion trials and triumphs at our next Pickle Preview Sunday, July 23rd from 1-3pm. 

*And more fundraising! Help keep our project on track by investing in our owner loan program.

Hi there, Blue Line!

For a few hours on Wednesday, the side wall of 2746 N. Milwaukee disappeared, flooding our new store site with light and a view of the Blue Line entrance. It gave us a little taste of the brightness and energy that will soon fill what is, for the moment, a pretty raw construction site. We'll keep providing photos here each week, and we hope you'll come take a look at our progress yourself at our next Pickle Preview, Sunday, July 22nd from 2-4pm.

Faces in our New Space

We hosted around 35 owners and neighbors for construction tours of 2746 N Milwaukee Ave during last weekend's Pickle Preview-- thanks to all who came out! Stay tuned for future tour dates in July as work continues to progress. We're on track to open at the end of summertime! 

Completing plumbing excavation & framing

The construction project is moving forward quickly: framing and plumbing excavation is complete and the old storefront has been demo-ed to install new energy-efficient glass and watertight concrete curbing.  This week, all HVAC ductwork comes on site and roofing work gets underway! Join us next Sunday, June 11 from 2-4pm for a tour of the new store we're building together. 

Removing the facade

From the GM: Construction progress became really visible this week, as our contractors removed the crumbling facade at 2746 N. Milwaukee; we’re now in the process of building a vestibule and replacing out of date materials with solid concrete curbing and energy-efficient glass. 

A portion of this work is financed by a Chicago Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) grant and some comes as a contribution from our landlord.  We’re grateful to have the support from our city and our building owner to bring you a spruced up storefront for new Dill Pickle. And we’re beyond grateful to the over 200 co-op owners who have lent to this remarkable project, and the 2,000 more vesting equity to keep us moving toward our late summer opening.

Construction is on schedule and we’re looking to you, the community we serve, to help us get our doors open! Please consider making a loan toward our much needed working capital, putting additional equity into your account or making an extra shopping trip a week to the current location. Our tiny tugboat on Fullerton is the financial engine towing us to bigger and better cooperative work on Milwaukee Avenue!

Finishing Framing

From the GM: Each Tuesday morning the construction team, along with myself and our store manager, sit down to review the project timeline, budget, and next steps for the buildout of 2746 N. Milwaukee. I really look forward to these meetings; it’s exciting to see the progress over the last week and learn about the complex beast that is a full-service grocery store construction project. The level of coordination required to keep all the subcontractors, licenses, inspections, and escrow draws chugging along together apace with the schedule is nothing short of mind-boggling, and I’m grateful to have strong team driving us toward a late-summer opening.

Last week framing finished up, plumbing drilled for floor drains and a temporary wall went up, hinting at the future location of our vestibule (which will be big enough to hold carts! Real carts!). This coming week the old storefront will come down, to be replaced with energy-efficient glass and a new front entry.

All this has been made possible by you, our owners and owner-lenders who have funded a truly landmark project in our city. Thank you! And, as you know, we’re not done yet. We still need owners to lend funds for working capital to keep this store chugging along post-opening. 

Breaking ground, planting seeds.

From the GM: We’re so excited to announce that after several weeks of delay, our loan signing with Chicago Community Loan Fund is scheduled! We close the loan at Chicago Title this Friday, April 14th at 10am. Signing this loan is the trigger to our final phase of construction, which gets underway next week. To kick things off, we’re holding a short groundbreaking event this coming Monday morning at 9am at the new site. We hope you can stop by to celebrate with us!

The final construction phase is estimated to take about four to five months, placing our opening in late August. This means we’re about to kick into high gear, building new systems for bigger departments, developing new training plans, and planning out an entire deli! And then there’s the next rounds of owner loan raising that meet our part of the financing agreement and take us to opening. And so I’m very pleased to announce the Dill Pickle welcomes Seth Murley, its first Store Manager, to the crew next week. Seth will be responsible for supporting operations of the current store and building strong systems for the new one, freeing me up to focus on the construction project, board reporting, ownership engagement and communication, fundraising, board support and planning. Seth brings fifteen years experience in managing food co-ops and we’re excited to work with him on continuing to improve and find ways for the Dill Pickle serve you better.