Chicago Proud: Forty Acres pop-up brings fresh, affordable produce to Austin neighborhood, owner Liz Abunaw says
CHICAGO (WLS) – Liz Abunaw owns and operates Forty Acres Fresh Market, a pop-up market in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood.
“I ended up on the corner of Chicago and Laramie,” she said, “and that’s when I realized I needed cash and I couldn’t find a bank or a grocery store and I kind of thought,“ Where am I and why do these basic things not exist?
It was this experience of inequality in Chicago that sparked Abunaw’s idea of a pop-up market on the west side of the city.
“Forty Acres is a start-up grocer. Our goal is to open a grocery store in the Austin community. To get there, we’ve brought pop-up markets, a delivery service and fresh, affordable produce to the neighborhood, ” She said.
“Forty Acres has a full line of products, so we have everything from strawberries, blueberries, grapes, blackberries, apples, oranges, mangoes, pineapples to greens, spinach, cabbage, carrots and potatoes, onions,” Abunaw listed.
“I love it, I come here every week, every Thursday,” said Teresa Cox. “Fresh food, good service, the people are so nice!”
“I come here because I like to support it,” said Sean Gunderson. “I think we need more markets like this in the city of Chicago.”
“What this tells you, when she does, it should encourage others to step on a vision and try it out,” said Emma Mitts, Alderman of the 37th Division.
When the pandemic broke out, Abunaw thought that this would be the end of their business. It turned out to be just the opposite.
“I thought the pandemic was closing us down indefinitely,” she said. “On March 15th, I realized that, oh my god, we were an essential business. People needed products to make our supply orders soar!”
Forty Acres is now focused on delivery contracts as the outdoor market is ready for the season. However, plans to open the first brick and mortar grocery store in the Austin neighborhood this spring.
“All of my staff is like this, I just can’t believe we did this, and we all feel part of something bigger than ourselves,” Abunaw said.
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