Give the Gift of Good Food this Season!

A gift certificate to The Sugar Beet Co-op
is the perfect holiday gift for your friends and family.  

Everyone is excited to shop the Co-op this Spring and this stocking stuffer will make it even more fun!

1. Gift Certificates for your food lovers.  We know store opening is still months away so we'll keep  track of your certificate in the event that it is misplaced.  The gift certificate can be used on all grocery items…and we'll have the best around!  

Plus!  For every $50 you spend you will receive a $10 gift certificate for you!

2. Gift Memberships for someone special.  The Co-op receives many requests for gift memberships and we just made it easier and prettier!  Your gift will be a showstopper and will include a membership agreement so that we can welcome our new member right away!

Plus!  When you purchase a Gift Membership you'll receive a $25 gift certificate for you!  Win win!

Certificates are printed on brown craft paper and mailed in a beautiful, heavy weight aubergine envelope with gold writing.  

You may order certificates to be delivered to you or directly to the lucky recipient. 

Please place orders by 12/20 so that there is time for delivery.  

Gift certificates and memberships are payable by check or through PayPal.  

By check:  Please send check and instructions including recipient's name and address and your personal message to Cheryl Muñoz 805 Hayes Oak Park, IL 60302.  Include your address to receive your bonus certificate!

By PayPal:

Choose Your Amount
Recipient's Name and Address
Your personal message

any questions?  email Cheryl

Good Food Festival & Conference

Sugar Beet is partnering with the Good Food Festival to organize the
2015 Good Food Commons micro workshop series on Saturday, March 21st,
and you're invited to be a part of it! The 20-minute micro workshops
will cover topics including growing, composting, preserving, raising
livestock, cooking, and community building. Scroll down for more
details and the application form (application deadline is December 19)!

Good Food Festival & Conference
Date: Saturday, March 21st, 2015
Where: UIC Forum - Chicago, IL

APPLICATIONS DUE: DECEMBER 19, 2015 and its Good Food Commons partners, are seeking
proposals for micro-workshops to be presented at the 2015 Good Food Festival and Conference. The workshops will be scheduled from 10:00am-3:00 pm on Saturday, March 21, 2015 at UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Road in Chicago. Commons Partners include Advocates for Urban Agriculture (AUA), the Chicago Botanic Garden, Edible Alchemy, local area co-ops, and Faith's Farm.

The Good Food Commons program is structured to encourage Festival-goers to cultivate their curiosity by attending multiple informal 20 minute micro-workshops throughout the day. The sessions are organized thematically in six Resource Centers, each focusing on important topics
within the Good Food movement such as growing and preserving food, raising animals, culinary skills, and building and strengthening the Good Food movement in our communities. Workshop presenters should focus on skills-based topics that can be delivered in a concise 20-minute
format to a small group. Audience engagement is critical, and a format that fosters direct interaction and time for questions is essential. The Good Food Commons is located on Level 1 of UIC Forum in rooms D,E,F. Each of the six Good Food Commons Resource Centers will seat 6-12 attendees with standing room for a small group. Your proposal should include a description of your presentation format to help us understand how it will integrate into the Commons environment.

To submit a Commons workshop proposal please complete the application form using the link below. The SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS DECEMBER 19, 2015. The Good Food Festival Advisory Committee will review submissions and select proposals. If accepted to participate in the Commons program you will be notified no later than January 31, 2015. Please note that if your proposal is accepted, you may be asked to work collaboratively with other groups or individuals who submitted similar proposals. We appreciate your willingness to work cooperatively!

Questions? Please contact's program coordinator,
Kristin McCracken, by phone at 773-805-7030 or e-mail

Commons Resource Centers:
-Preserve It: includes jamming, jarring, pickling, pressure canning,
fermentation, or other food preservation techniques.
-Compost It: includes vermiculture, compost teas, troubleshooting, best
practices, or anything else composting related.
-Grow Your Own: includes urban growing, container gardening, season
extension, soil quality, harvesting & handling, and other DIY gardening
-Make Your Own: includes kitchen skills, keeping cultures (kombucha and
sourdough), culinary curiosities, special diets, and other creative
cooking topics.
-Raise Your Own: includes livestock, raising urban animals, bees,
chickens, goats, or anything else of interest to backyard livestock
-Community Building: includes organizations that build community and
food literacy through growing, cooking, selling, eating and educating
people about food.

Thank you for your interest, and we look forward to seeing what you
come up with!

For the 2014 Commons schedule and more detailed descriptions of the
Commons and Resource Centers, please go here:




1. "I lost the form!" 

SB: Download it here and mail it in before the dog eats it.  

2.  "I don't cook much." 

SB: FACT. We will sell organic and delicious prepared foods, juices, and easy and quick meal solutions to make at home.  You can do it.

3. "It's just the two of us."

SB: FACT. Empty nesters buy groceries.  Take care of each other by exploring the best food of the season at the co-op.  You have time now.

4. "I am concerned about your parking situation."

SB: FACT. We have a lot across GROVE that is open to our customers all day plus ample street parking.  Plus + curbside service like the old days!

5. "I will join after it opens."

SB: FACT.  The co-op would never open if we all thought that way.  Take a leap of faith with your 750+ neighbors and make a commitment today.

6. "I was really hoping a mattress store would open in that space".

SB: FACT.  We can't please everyone with a con operatively-owned, organic and local grocery store with the freshest food and deepest commitment to sustainability in the middle of town in a gorgeous historic building, but we are trying.  Sorry about that.

7. "I am waiting for an awesome incentive to join... like a drawing for a HUGE gift card from one of our best-loved local businesses."

SB: FACT.  Gotcha.  Rachel and Jason from The Book Table heard you loud and clear and are offering a $250 gift card.  Join this month and you'll be eligible to win it!   

The drawing will be on Monday, December 1st.  Join this month to be entered to win!


Rachel Weaver and Jason Smith opened The Book Table in 2003. They are both avid readers and book connoisseurs who understand the importance of owning a good book. For over 11 years they have been dedicated to their customers and will go to any lengths to make sure they get all their book needs and wants met.  They are also Sugar Beet Co-op members and we can't wait to serve them this Spring!  Thanks R + J!


1. Print this form.  Mail it in with your check and that's it.  Welcome.

2. Go to our website  and complete the online payment through Paypal. Easy.

Please email me with any questions or concerns.  

I look forward to building this co-op with you.  All of you. 


General Manager is hired!

Chris Roland visited from Arizona in September to meet the board of directors. 

Chris Roland visited from Arizona in September to meet the board of directors. 

Sugar Beet Co-op hires its first General Manager

September 20, 2014

After a national search, we are excited to announce that we have hired our top candidate, Chris Roland.

Chris is expected to make the move from Arizona to Oak Park in early November and will set-up operations, oversee build-out, hiring and perform the many duties required to open the co-op. 

Chris has a B.S. in Business Administration from University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Immediately after college he entered the natural food industry, which accounts for his infinite knowledge of the co-op culture and experience. 

He has filled almost every position including finance manager, produce manager, interim GM, deli manager and several more.

Chris has served as the GM at Sierra Vista Co-op in Arizona for the past three years.  He has taken the co-op to financial success and has almost completely eradicated their debt in three short years. With such a huge financial success, Sierra Vista is considering expansion.

Tom Hollinden, Board President of Sugar Beet Co-op, states, "Roland is uniquely qualified with his prior General Manager experience at multiple co-ops, his communication skills and finance background to ensure that the Sugar Beet will be truly successful in our community."

While the move from Sierra Vista to Oak Park is going to be a huge change Chris is excited for the adventure. Chris states,"the Sugar Beet Schoolhouse non-profit really shows the Co-op's passion to walk-the-walk, as far as doing 

a lot of that work that makes up such a big part of the Sugar Beet's mission, and separates us from the other natural food and big box stores.

Chris finds it most rewarding "to watch the process of a group of folks with an idea go all the way.  This is such a satisfying process to be a part of and I'm so lucky that the Sugar Beet and Oak Park have invited me along for the ride."

"We are very honored to have Chris Roland serve as the Sugar Beet's first General Manager," states Tom Hollinden. 

Special thanks to our General Manager Search Committee:
Ben DeBerry, Bill Gee, Tom Hollinden, Cheryl Muñoz, Peter Nolan and Robin Schirmer.   Great Job!

We are looking for a General Manager!

General Manager 

Posted: June 23, 2014


The Sugar Beet Co-op

Organization location:

Oak Park, IL

Apply by:


The Sugar Beet Co-op, a start-up co-op expected to open February 2015, located in the beautiful village of Oak Park, IL (just 10 miles west of downtown Chicago) is seeking a General Manager. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the General Manager is responsible for the overall operations of a 6,300 sq ft retail grocery store with $4 million in annual sales its first year and an estimated 20 employees. The General Manager leads the staff in providing exceptional customer service and maintaining a financially thriving business in a competitive marketplace for the benefit of our 500 (and growing!) member households and the surrounding community. More broadly, the General Manager is responsible for working toward our mission while charting the direction of the Co-op in concert with our Board of Directors, employees and members.

Minimum Qualifications –

  • Retail food store management experience

  • Supervisory experience: hiring, training, evaluating and coaching, setting compensation, termination, supervising supervisory employees, and other similar functions

  • Financial experience: operating, capital, and cash budgeting; interpreting and analyzing financial statements and accounting ratios, etc.

  • Demonstrated ability to build and motivate a cohesive team and foster stakeholder alignment around a particular vision

  • Clear presentation of information in written and spoken form

  • Personal and professional values that align with cooperative principles

Desired Qualifications –

  • Bottom line accountability experience for a business with minimum annual sales volume of $4 million

  • Demonstrated ability to create and implement strategy for development and growth in a competitive market

  • Experience working with boards and familiarity with policy governance

  • Experience in natural foods industry and knowledge of current trends

  • Experience and familiarity with cooperative business

  • Familiarity with open-book management

  • Ability to effectively represent the Sugar Beet Co-op to and build relationships with stakeholder groups (e.g. members, staff, the national co-op community, the Oak Park business community)

The Sugar Beet Co-op offers a competitive wage and benefits package, dependent on experience.

About The Sugar Beet Co-op

The Sugar Beet Co-op was founded in early 2012. In March 2013 The Co-op began selling member shares and in March 2014 The Co-op signed a 10 year lease for a beautiful geothermal, LEED certified 6300 sq ft retail space in the heart of Oak Park, IL. With an active and motivated Board of Directors, The Sugar Beet Co-op is progressing quickly towards its targeted opening date of February 2015.  With projected annual sales of $4 million in the first  fiscal year, The Co-op expects to employ nearly 20 staff members. Situated just west of Chicago in the beautiful and diverse village of Oak Park, The Sugar Beet Co-op is one of many start-up food co-ops in the Chicagoland region. Find out more at The Sugar Beet Co-op website.

About Oak Park, IL

Oak Park, located just 10 miles west of downtown Chicago, boasts excellent schools, world class architecture, shopping, dining and an extensive public transportation network. But Oak Park is more than a place – it also is a way of life.
Oak Park was named one of 20 Best Towns & Neighborhoods in Chicago & the Suburbs by Chicago Magazine. Oak Park was voted Third Best Neighborhood in the United States, by American Planning Association.  Oak Park is a highly educated village of 50,000 with a vibrant business district, easy access to public transit via three train lines and is a diverse community committed to sustainability and progressive ideals. The village is located just west of Chicago and is a 20 minute drive to downtown and Lake Michigan. Oak Park is recognized for it’s tree-lined neighborhoods,  smart village planning, bike-friendly streets and popular farmers’ market.

To apply for or inquire about the General Manager position, please send a cover letter and résumé with three professional references to

Pop Up Art Show & Open House

Sugar Beet Co-op Pop Up Art Show & Open House
June 28, 2014; 1-4 PM

812 W. Madison Ave.
Oak Park, IL

Meet, mingle and shop for one-of-a-kind art & gifts from amazing local artists, plus enjoy wine samples and chocolate tastings during The Sugar Beet Co-op Pop Up Art Show & Open House. Co-op memberships will be for sale at this event--come check it out!

Members, please join us for a Member Loan Program Preview where you’ll learn first hand details about the progress of The Sugar Beet Co-op and what it will take to bring it to life. Don’t miss this important event and bring a friend or neighbor to help spread the news!



Lisa Nordstrom

Jill Buckingham – jewelry and sometimes fair trade bags

Kristi Sloniger

Jackie Lakely – mixed media -

Bryan Northrup (assistant director of the Oak Park Art League and glass artist )

Karen Gubitz

Pamela Penney

Vendors & Tastings:

Equal Exchange -
Fair Trade Chocolate

Katherine Anne Confections - Local Chocolates

House Red Vinoteca - Local Wine Bar

H2VINO - Sustainable Wines








We ask that our Sugar Beet Co-op Members stay for our member meeting and reception to follow. Please RSVP to with name(s) and number of guests. Please let her know if you need childcare ($5/child) and the childrens' ages.

SHOP:  We are lining up great local vendors for this market. Peerless Bread & Jam, Three Queens Organic Maple Syrup, CRUMB bakery, River Valley Organics... just to name a few! 

SEE: The crew from One Earth Film Festival will preview 2 inspiring food films in UNITY TEMPLE'S sanctuary. 

ATTEND:  2:30-4 pm Seed Starting with Sharon Storbeck

In this workshop, we'll cover seed starting dates for edibles, organic soil mixes, how to create ideal growing conditions and trouble shooting. You will leave this class with a 12 spot tray and your choice of heirloom tomatoes, peppers, kale, chard and several edible flowers. We will have several varieties of tomatoes for containers if you are gardening on an apartment porch. We will discuss lighting, organic fertilizer and when these plants will be ready to transplant.

There is a $10.00 fee to cover the cost of materials.  

Please rsvp to Sharon Storbeck

The Future Home of The Sugar Beet Co-op

The Core Committee is excited to announce that we are in final lease negotiations to secure a retail space at 812 W. Madison for our community co-op.

January 25, 2014

Dear Members and Supporters,


It is with great pleasure that we announce that The Sugar Beet Core Committee is close to signing a lease with Interfaith Housing Development Corporation to lease, for 10 years, a 5,300 square foot retail space at 812 W. Madison in Oak Park.

The beautiful, all new retail space is LEED certified and geothermal with new mechanicals and a permeable paver parking lot to the West. The first floor retail space is part of a mixed used development project owned by Interfaith Housing Development Corporation that manages the 52 low income apartments above.

Both Interfaith and The Sugar Beet are excited about the synergy between our community-owned grocery store and the residents who will live above the store. It is a good match for both parties and local residents and we have the support of The Madison Street Business Association and The Village of Oak Park, as well.

When The Sugar Beet Co-op Core Committee learned about the leasing opportunity and below market lease terms offered by Interfaith, we began working with a group of co-op members to secure funds to lease the retail space. In 8 weeks we have secured almost $200k in pledges that will make this important step possible and get us well on our way to opening our community co-op in early 2015.

This development has activated many projects within our Core Committee including tightening the program for build-out, working with other agencies to ensure sustainability, building our product sourcing guidelines, vendor list and more.

We have a lot of work ahead of us and we are grateful for your commitment to this project. YOU- our community of neighbors of neighbors and friends in the good food movement are making change happen. TOGETHER- we are building something that will serve our community and our regional farmers and producers for years to come.
Please help us spread the word and help build membership and support through your circles by sharing this news and your commitment to change.

A quote from a beloved community builder:

"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent."
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Yours Truly,
Cheryl Muñoz
Co-founder, The Sugar Beet Co-op

Sugar Beet Presented the Fitzsimmons Award

May 20, 2013

The Village of Oak Park presented the Fitzsimmons Award to the Sugar Beet Co-op for our contributions to public health in Oak Park. Thank you all for your support!

Did you know that we have an advisory board called "Heal Thyself"? This group of health advocates, MD's, RD's are meeting regularly to explore how a community-owned grocery store can also serve as a wellness center that inspires people to eat for health. We are planning a health symposium for this Fall as well as other programming that will support the greater mission of The Sugar Beet Co-op. Local, sustainably grown food made accessible to all!

Video Still provided by  Susanne Fairfax Media

Video Still provided by Susanne Fairfax Media

Sugar Beet Co-op: Making urban agriculture real in Oak Park

April 24th, 2013
By Deb Quantock McCarey

Original article here

Fifteen months after Cheryl Muñoz, 36, and Jenny Jocks Stelzer, 37, broadcast the first seeds of their idea across Oak Park, it seems that the Sugar Beet Cooperative has germinated and is taking root.

In April, about 100 food-loving locals attended the first official member meeting. Each participant had paid a one-time co-op membership fee of $250 per family, which can be paid in installments and is refundable if for some reason the group dissolves, Muñoz says.

"Purchasing a membership in our co-op is buying a share in our future grocery business," she says. "We are not spending that money. Rather, we are building equity to show banks that we are real."

She adds that members will also receive dividends, discounts on groceries, and discounts on event tickets.

Further proof of progress, perhaps, is that Sugar Beet recently filed documentation to secure nonprofit status, and has affiliated itself with a Chicago-based fiscal agent that facilitates the processing of tax-deductible donations. In addition, Sugar Beet was awarded a grant that will fund a feasibility study designed to help it broaden its board of directors, as well as do more educational programming, including farm tours, and a plethora of other community outreach efforts.

For example, besides the agrarian education they currently provide to schools, groups and individuals in Oak Park, Muñoz points out that they are also involved with a sustainable community garden with St. Joseph Services in the Austin neighborhood to teach more people about seed-to-plate gardening.

So now, the group is involved in these sustainability issues in Oak Park and on the West Side, she says.

Their aim is to lay the foundation for building a new community-managed grocery store in Oak Park by next summer. Muñoz describes the brick and mortar venture as a year-round farmers' market, of sorts, that will sell food directly from local farms and producers, provide community outreach and education about the importance of supporting farmers and the local economy, and include a commercial kitchen where people can take classes on cooking, preserving, and gather to talk and eat food together.

"We are building a community around urban agriculture. The idea is that we will all garden together, help each other do it, and in doing that, transform this community by sharing our produce and what we have learned from each other, with everyone else." Cheryl Muñoz, Co-founder of the Sugar Beet Cooperative

Good Food Festival & Conference

March 14-16, 2013
UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL


The Sugar Beet will be involved in all aspects of this conference. From tabling at the Trade Show to presenting our project as part of a panel organized by the Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council called, "Engaging Community to Improve Healthy Neighborhood Food Options", we will be learning more about our local food community while sharing The Sugar Beet's vision.

The Festival is family friendly and there is so much packed in to one weekend! Speakers include Sandor Katz and Fred Kirschenmann, plus DIY workshops and the Good Food Commons featuring backyard chickens, canning, and composting. There’s also exhibitors, an Urban Ag bus tour, and a Kids’ Corner. Don't miss Steve Dolinsky MC'ing the Kimchi Challenge, and Chef demos with Rick Bayless, Paul Virant, and Carrie Nahabedian! Plus, Tradeshow, Policy Summit, and Financing Farm to Fork Conference. We hope to see you there!