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Making a Splash

Checking in at the Chicago International Produce Market

In addition to buying and selling produce from throughout the Untied States, Canada, and elsewhere, the CIPM’s businesses—both merchants and trucking operations—offer a host of services from cross docking and deliveries to ripening, custom packaging and repacking services, and private label programs.

While the market’s official hours are Monday through Friday from eight o’clock in the morning until noon, most merchants open their doors as early as 3:30 am and offer reduced hours on Saturdays. The market is open throughout the year except for six major holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Big-Time Benefits
Location & Reach
According to the market’s merchants, there are countless advantages to doing business in Chicago. First and foremost, CIPM benefits from a prime location—a few miles from Midway Airport, mere minutes from downtown, and about thirty minutes from huge O’Hare International Airport.

The market is ideally located for delivery anywhere in the vast Chicagoland area, which includes numerous suburbs and the northwestern corner of Indiana. Beyond the state line are Midwest partners Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and northerly neighbor Canada.

The market’s wholesalers serve up a cornucopia of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with various nuts, dried fruits, many herbs and spices, and specialty dry goods. From apples to zucchini, if a produce item is available somewhere in the world, there’s a good chance you can find it at Chicago’s terminal market.

Jason Gonzalez, transportation manager for J.L. Gonzalez Produce, Inc. says yes, the businesses at the CIPM face shoulder-to-shoulder competition, often selling the same items at similar prices right next door to each other. Yet this can work to their advantage when it comes to availability: “If one warehouse doesn’t have an item, you can find it from another to fill an order and still be able to provide for your customer,” he explains. “Business is always changing and evolving here in Chicago—it’s all about trying to get the edge and service your customer the best.”

Produce businesses in the Windy City also reap the benefits of a truly diverse population of more than 2.71 million people, including sizeable Indian, Asian, Irish, Polish, and German populations and neighborhoods.