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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Groceries By Bike? Courier Startup Will Launch In Wicker Park After Zoning Change Approved

Buyk, a New York City-based startup that provides ultra-fast grocery delivery by bike, wants to expand rapidly in Chicago as rival Getir also launches in the city.

A cyclist rides through the busy intersection of Chicago and Campbell avenues in Ukrainian Village on Nov. 4, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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WICKER PARK — A new business promising ultra-fast delivery of your milk, eggs, ice cream and other grocery staples via a bike courier could soon open on Milwaukee Avenue near the 606 Trail.

The owners of the property, 1860 N. Milwaukee Comet, LLC , received a zoning change request from City Council Wednesday to accommodate a grocery delivery business at 1860 N. Milwaukee Ave. along the Wicker Park/Bucktown border. William Senne and Scott Broene are listed as the owners of the 1860 N. Milwaukee, LLC, according to state records.

Senne and Broene have signed a letter of intent with Buyk, a grocery delivery startup that launched in New York City earlier this year, to open at the site, their zoning attorney Sara Barnes told the Zoning Committee Tuesday. 

Buyk has raised $46 million from investors and services 1,350 orders per day in New York City, according to a New York Times report last week. Rodion Shishkov, who co-founded the company in August, told the paper the company could grow to 20,000 orders a day by the end of the year.

Barnes suggested the company may look to expand rapidly in Chicago, telling the committee Buyk is “hoping to open 50 more in the city so any other aldermen that want them in their neighborhoods, let them know.”

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Another grocery delivery company promising ultra-fast delivery, Turkish-based Getir, is set to open in Andersonville. Getir is known for it’s fleet of yellow-and-purple scooters used for delivery.

Getir, A Turkish Grocery Delivery Business, Debuts In Chicago And Plans Andersonville Storefront

Buyk’s business model, and how to properly zone such a company, seemed to confound Barnes and the city’s zoning staff. The property owners initially submitted a zoning request to accommodate a warehouse, “because we thought that this was how it would be categorized, since the facility will be used as kind of a grocery store where the couriers will come and pick up the packages and then deliver them to the different residents in the neighborhood that use the service,” Barnes said. 

At the same time, Barnes sought an advisory opinion from the city’s Department of Planning and Development, which ultimately said the company would need a zoning change to accommodate food and beverage sales. 

The zoning request was supported by local Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), who said the property owners showed “the patience of saints because we’ve been going back and forth on this for quite a while.”

Buyk has opened 20 “hubs,” or grocery stores not open to the public, in New York City, according to the New York Times report. The business hopes to open 100 more in New York City, according to Shishkov, who founded a similar business in Moscow. 

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