A proposal for a new food store on Oakton Street, which seemed to have died months ago amid a dispute over environmental rules, is back — wining preliminary approval from a city committee today.

The proposed Gordon Food Service Marketplace story would be built on land at 2424 Oakton St.

In late February the City Council adopted amendments to its Green Building Ordinance requiring new commercial buildings between 10,000 and 20,000 square feet in size to achieve LEED silver standards or meet a set of locally-developed environmental standards.

Gordon’s officials said then that it couldn’t afford to meet those rules.

Today the company presented plans for the building to the city’s Site Plan and Appearance Review Committee.

The plans call for a 16,000 square foot building with 65 parking spaces on a 1.65 acre site.

Bill Casey, Gordon’s real estate manager, said the site faces a number of environmental issues, including completing a rainwater detention pond shared with neighboring developments.

Bill Casey of Gordons. Top: Casey shows the audience at the meeting elevation drawings of the planned store.

Casey said Gordon’s is a privately held family-owned company and that the store will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

He said the company, which primarily is a wholesale supplier to the restaurant industry views its expanding chain of retail stores as a place where consumers might shop once a month for “pantry stuffers and party supplies.”

It’s not a replacement for the supermarket, he said.

Members of the committee discussed landscaping, parking, sidewalks and handicapped access to the site before voting unanimously to give it preliminary approval.

There was no discussion of the energy efficiency and cost concerns that had stalled the project in the past.

Of three city officals Evanston Now contacted for comment after the meeting, one was not familiar with the project, another was out of town and could not be reached, and a third did not immediately return a reporter’s phone call.

Related story

‘Green’ vote leaves food store in doubt

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Is this what we want?!

    I'm all for bringing new businesses into Evanston, please don't misunderstand me, but is this really what we want? "A place where consumers might shop once a month for "pantry stuffers and party supplies"?

    Wouldn't we rather have something like Skokie's Village Market where we can get decent, reasonably priced produce, a good deli and meat department and plenty of staples? Honestly, if I'm going somewhere once a month, I'll schlepp to Costco. If it's in my neighborhood, I want somewhere I can stop on my way home from work and pick up something for dinner.

    Of course, if the new City environmental standards are going to make it so expensive for any grocery stores to come into town that they have to charge Whole Foods-like prices, then I suppose it won't matter. I'll have to keep heading to Skokie or Glenview to buy my groceries.

    1. You know what? We don’t get to choose…

      … the stores that come to Evanston.  THEY decide whether THEY want to open up for business in our town.  Then we decide (through our patronage, or lack thereof) whether they become a successful enterprise. 


      Heck yes I would like a store like Village Market, but apparently they (and similar stores) don't want us.  I'd like a lot of other things in Evanston too: a Zingerman's Deli, a Porsche dealer and a professional football team, among others, but I am not going to pout and threaten to do business elsewhere if they choose not to come.

      1. Planning to fail?

        I get it. I'm not saying they shouldn't come – you notice I prefaced my remarks by saying that I want new businesses to come to town. I'm just expressing my disappointment with what they appear to be offering.

        I am saying exactly what you are: They can choose to come and I can choose not to do business with them. I'm not suggesting the City Council not allow them to come, I'm saying that they are not the kind of business that I think most people want in that space. 

        If I could afford to shop at a Zingerman's Deli, buy a Porsche or get tickets to professional football, I probably wouldn't care because I could afford to shop at Whole Foods. Lucky you.

  2. This is Good

    I wonder what the catalyst for this change was?

    Hopefully the City finally realized that some of these environmental provisions were very simply destructive in their intent; unrealistic in costs to businesses as a barrier to bringing new businesses, revenue and jobs to Evanston?

    Perhaps another "unintended consequence" that seemingly arises from extreme activist positions and influence?

    See… when you put ideology ahead of reality, these things tend to happen.  Did someone over at City Hall finally wake up to this?

    Frankly, the City is damn lucky Gordon decided to come back. 

    Many a business has walked, opting for nearby communities that are more business friendly. 

    I am glad someone over there in City Hall woke up to economic reality to ease these requirements and accept this new venture. 

  3. Gordon Food Service

    At this point, Evanston is lucky to get any business interested in coming to Evanston.  The corner of Asbury and Oakton has been empty for years.  The Dempster/Dodge shopping center has been mostly empty.  Personally, I am a fan of Gordon Food Service.  I used to stock up on some products when I went to Ohio and could shop at GFS there.  They carry Lawry's Seasoned Pepper in a large size which makes it less expensive and also Minor's broths which are convenient.  The only GFS not on the South Side is in Palatine which isn't close enough.  I vote they build.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published.