WICKER PARK — A traveling pop-up grocery store will visit Chicago for one month, setting up shop in Wicker Park.
Pop Up Grocer will open April 30 at 1555 N. Milwaukee Ave.
The traveling pop-up showcases hundreds of brands, the majority of which are women-owned and plant-based, founder Emily Schildt said.
Of the products Pop Up Grocer carries, 68 percent are vegan, 85 percent are gluten-free and 57 percent are nut-free, Schildt said. Popcorn, chocolate, frozen foods, non-alcoholic aperitifs and more are sold. Many items are from up-and-coming brands looking for exposure in new cities.
“We serve as a trade show, a museum gallery for best-in-class new products that fall under the grocery umbrella,” Schildt said.
A New York City resident, Schildt said she is excited to bring her pop-up to Chicago. Pop Up Grocer has succeeded in neighborhoods similar to Wicker Park, she said: Venice in Los Angeles and SoHo in New York City. The store has also traveled to Austin, Texas.
“We’ll get people who are embedded within the neighborhood and for whom we can be a nice, local resource for the 30 days we are there,” she said. “We also really like Wicker Park because it’s got a bit of an edge … [a] character and quirk. And that really is aligned with our brand.”
While the pandemic hurt many kinds of businesses, Schildt said she has found customers have enjoyed the pop-up experience. Shoppers may still buy some essentials online to minimize time inside a store, but they are ready to shop for other items in real life, she said.
“Pop Up Grocer is a complement to your lackluster online grocery shopping experience,” she said.
At Pop Up Grocer, customers can also experiment with up-and-coming brands that have yet to hit mainstream grocery stores. For example, Karma Bites, a snack made from maca root, chlorella, spirulina and Vitamin B-12, will debut inside Pop Up Grocer. There’s also Phasey, a woman-owned, hormone-focused brand launching two products in the pop-up.
Staff are very knowledgable about every item on the shelves and can suggest products based on a customer’s flavor and dietary preferences, Schildt said.
While neighbors will only have 30 days to peruse the pop-up, in-store magazines will list every brand and information on how and where to purchase products online. Discount codes will be included.
The pop-up is dog-friendly and will sell fresh-baked pastries from Elske, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Chicago.
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