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Whole Foods distribution center opens in Pullman neighborhood

The facility is one major step in Pullman’s renaissance

Chicago Mayor’s Office / Twitter

Traditionally when a new building opens, there’s a ribbon cutting ceremony. However, officials chose to break bread instead at the opening of the Whole Foods Market distribution center on the Far South Side on Monday.

During the opening ceremony, Mayor Rahm Emanuel noted the significance of breaking bread in the Jewish faith, saying that it was about acknowledging and appreciating the past, but also rejoicing in what is to come.

That optimistic sentiment also applies to the Pullman community—the distribution facility is another big step in the neighborhood’s ongoing renaissance, according to the mayor. The 140,000-square-foot space will bring 100 jobs and serve as a warehouse and refrigeration space for 26 stores in Chicago as well as 34 locations across the Midwest and Canada. The facility is expected to move 200,000 cases per week.

“Let me just say what Whole Foods means to the 9th Ward—it means opportunity, it means hope. When you bring jobs back into the community what you’re really doing is giving them hope. We know the 9th Ward has had challenges over the years,” said 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale at the opening ceremony. “We’re extremely excited about having these partnerships.”

Whole Foods joins Method Soap Factory and Gotham Greens which have also chosen to call the Pullman community home. Both the mayor and Beale indicated that this was only the beginning of development for Pullman. Whole Foods is also thinking about growth, the company selected the 17-acre site on the 700 block of 111th Street so that it could easily expand in the future.

“The reason Whole Foods picked this place is because of you,” the mayor said at the opening ceremony speaking to a room full of Pullman residents. “Not because of what Anthony and I do. When it comes to a work ethic, commitment and a supportive community that wants to make something happen, they see the promise of Pullman.”

Originally, the site was where the production and assembly of the Pullman Railway Cars occurred in the late 1800s. The Pullman neighborhood was the first planned industrial community in the United States and, for this reason, was designated a National Monument by the U.S. Park Service in 2015.