Name: The Dill Pickle Food Co-op
Address: 2746 N Milwaukee Ave.
Type of Establishment: Co-op
Q: What's your name and position at The Dill Pickle?
A: My name is Sharon and I'm the General Manager. I run the store, report to the Board of Directors and make sure the co-op is always working toward our End Goals.
Q: How long have you been in the neighborhood?
A: I moved to Humboldt Park in 2005. Wow...has it really been 10 years?
Q: What do you want our community to know about The Dill Pickle?
A: The story behind our namesake: the Dil Pickle Club. We're named after the bohemian hangout that operated in the South Loop in the 1910s through the 1930s. It was a forum for artists, scholars and free-thinkers during the Chicago Renaissance. What better namesake for a cooperative?
Q: What’s your favorite summer activity in Chicago?
A: It's a four-way tie between spreading out a blanket at concerts and movies in the parks, gardening in my yard, playing lawn games on the boulevards with friends, reading on my back porch in the morning, and biking to neighborhoods I don't often visit in the cold of winter. Ooh, and then there's SummerDance...
Q: What positive attributes does The Dill Pickle bring to the community?
A: Where to begin? On the surface: great locally produced food, friendly faces, a store where the staff will recognize you by the second or third time you walk in the door and where you'll meet your neighbors. Going a little deeper: a business that cares about community by working with other organizations in the neighborhood that share our values around equity, democracy and equality; holding community events like potlucks, our Homestead Logan Square workshop series, our autumn Block Party, and film screenings. Deeper still: a business that strives to enact those values at every level, from the products we carry on the shelves to the way we treat our staff to the way we handle our waste. And at the heart of it all: a business owned by the people who shop there and is accountable directly to them; a business that keeps profits in the community; a business that values people above profit.
Q: What exactly does it mean to be a co-op, and what's your favorite part about being a co-op?
A: Glad you asked! A co-op is a business owned and democratically controlled by its members (there are all kinds of co-ops: credit unions, housing co-ops, farmer co-ops, and worker co-ops like our friends at Five Point Holistic Health just down the street). Co-op owners vest in equity, vote on policy and share benefits. Any financial surpluses are shared amongst member-owners--not CEOs or out-of-state stakeholders. My favorite part of being involved in a co-op is the tremendous investment I feel in my neighborhood. I've met the most amazing, passionate, engaged, brilliant people through the Dill Pickle. We're part of a very special community here and I'm honored to help serve it.