STREETERVILLE — Mrs. Green's Natural Food Market, an organic-focused grocery chain with stores on the East Coast, in Canada and one in Lincoln Park, will open a second Chicago location in the shuttered Fox & Obel storefront in July.
Construction issues forced developers to push back the opening, initially planned for March. In the meantime management is applying for a liquor license so it can sell wine and beer and host wine tastings — and so customers can shop with a glass in hand, according to Juan Guzman, manager of the Lincoln Park Mrs. Green's at 555 W. Webster Ave.
"People can come and shop and taste wine while they're shopping," he said. "We also have samples of the vendors we carry. They come out maybe once every other weekend" to provide samples.
When it opens, the store will sell only beer and wine, but Guzman said it might stock harder liquor later.
Guzman, who lives in Logan Square, said he and the current Mrs. Green's team in Chicago are especially looking forward to the new location.
"I used to shop at Fox & Obel out in that area; I think the location's great," he said. "I think we're going to catch a lot of different eyes. There's a lot of tourist traffic there, and new apartment buildings [being] constructed there, that's going to be a plus. I'm very excited about the location."
Guzman said the major changes to the Fox & Obel store at 401 E. Illinois St. involve revamping the interior.
"The layout is very different," he said, "but everything else will be the same" as the Mrs. Green's on Webster Place. "It's the same corporate management. Just the layout of the store and how the store flows will be different."
Guzman said hiring for the Streeterville store will start in late May or early June.
Mrs. Green's took over the 22,000-square-foot Fox & Obel in the fall after the high-end grocery store filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, months after health inspectors shut it down after finding 200 live fruit flies and 30 live cockroaches in the store.
The store estimated its assets at less than $1 million, while its debt was estimated at $1 million to $10 million.