Cermak Fresh Market coming to Bridgeport
October 29, 2010

An architectural rendering shows the exterior of the new Bridgeport Cermak Fresh Market.

By Sarah Severson

In just a few months, Cermak Fresh Market will open as a full service grocery store in the former Bridgeport Jewel-Osco space at 3033 S. Halsted St., filling a major void that has existed for the last three years.

Cermak Fresh Market has operated grocery stores in the Chicago area for the last 30 years. It currently runs ten stores, with the new Bridgeport location and another site in the works.

Eleventh Ward Alderman James Balcer worked with Cook County Commissioner John Daley to help bring the store to Bridgeport. With a Cermak Fresh Market in the 11th Ward at Archer and Damen Avenues, Balcer was familiar with the company and the people behind it.

“This neighborhood had a big need for a store like this, and it’s a good fit,” Balcer said. “I’ve always liked their products, they’re very congenial, they work with the community, and it’s a pleasure to have them here.”

The new grocery store is a part of the City’s redevelopment plans for the neighborhood. Cermak Fresh Market is known for its emphasis on perishable items such as produce, meat, and deli items. It will offer a wide selection of groceries, including those with an international flair to reflect the neighborhood’s diversity and ethnic makeup.

“We cater to the neighborhood and carry items that appeal to those who live in the area,” said Michael Bousis, Cermak Fresh Market spokesperson and a member of the family that owns the chain. “We’re aggressively priced and give the freshest and best quality that we can.”

Bousis said the store’s prices often are lower than those found at national chains.

Workers are demolishing the building’s interior while the owners obtain City building permits for the store’s transformation. Once permits are in hand, construction should take four to five months, with the opening expected in February or March.

“It will be the same space, but with a much improved layout over what the Jewel store had before,” said Sakis Karasmanakis, general contractor for S Construction Co., which is handling the renovation.

Workers will leave the structure in place but revamp the inside and reface the outside. They also will install new wall coverings, flooring, and energy-efficient lighting and equipment.

The interior measures about 18,000 square feet, but the sales area will be bigger than at the former Jewel-Osco to permit a larger selection of various foods, including a full array of fish, dairy, meat, bakery, and hot foods as well as non-perishables.

Workers also will resurface the parking lot, remove the wrought iron fence, add landscaping, and install lighting in the parking lot and alley. “It’s going to be a beautiful store from the outside in,” said Karasmanakis.

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