Beans & Greens to close after a year in downtown Homewood

  A patron peruses Beans & Greens offerings 
  shortly after the store opened in September 
  2016.
(Chronicle file photos)
 

Beans & Greens will be closing soon. 

The board of the South Suburban Food Co-op, which operates the store at 1941 Ridge Road in Homewood, announced Oct. 15 that the store did not have the level of support from the community necessary to meet expenses. 

"It is with deepest regrets we are writing to inform you of the closing of the South Suburban Food Coop," the board stated in an email sent to customers. "Our current situation has reached exhaustion."
 

  During summer months
  Beans & Greens offered 
  fresh produce. 

 

The member-owned non-profit organization was founded in 1974 to provide fresh, local, organic and vegan foods and environmentally friendly household products, according to the organization's website.

The store moved from Park Forest to Homewood in 2016.

Co-op officials said a number of factors led to the failure of the business. 

Treasurer Richard Vilmur said store start-up costs were higher than anticipated, including the need to contribute to or pay for sewer and other building repairs. He said several board members invested more than $300,000 in the enterprise in an attempt to make the business viable.

Monthly overhead costs were much higher than planned, and store revenue could not keep pace, he said in an email message to the Chronicle.

He said there was strong interest in the co-op among members of the community, but that interest did not translate into strong sales.

Vilmur also cited external forces that hurt sales.

"Sales have been dropping due to the Cook County soda tax and competition from new deep-pockets companies," he said. 

On that point, store manager Rebecca Husbands agreed. 

"The climate of shopping in our country has changed," she said. "People are now able to do the majority of their shopping online from large corporations with big buying power. That is not something we can compete with."

Homewood and Flossmoor have added two large grocery providers in the past year. Walmart opened a store in Homewood, and Meijer opened a store in Flossmoor. In addition, retail behemoth Amazon recently launched a grocery delivery service that allows customers to order online.

"We have given it our best effort," Husbands said. "Times have changed, so we are sad to say we must close the doors." 

The store will continue to be open to reduce inventory. Starting Oct. 23, the store will be open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The store will continue to stock organic produce, bread, milk and eggs during liquidation. Co-op members will continue to receive discounts on their purchases until the store closes.

"We encourage you to shop during this process of closing as funds are needed to pay remaining bills," the board stated in its announcement email. "Thank you to those that have faithfully supported the business."

Husbands said a specific closing date has not been determined.

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