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New Flagship Whole Foods Market for Chicagoland

Novak Construction Company representatives stood proudly next to its Whole Foods partners on March 22 for the unveiling of a new Whole Foods Market at the historic intersection of Ashland-Belmont-Lincoln (3201 N. Ashland Avenue), signaling the return to a bustling corner punctuated by commerce, commuters and community.

The highly anticipated opening featured 44th Ward Alderman, Tom Tunney and Department of Building & Planning Commissioner, David L. Reifman, and Whole Foods Market Regional President, Michael Bashaw. 47th Ward Alderman, Ameya Pawar, also attended alongside Novak leadership, John G. Novak and Michael W. Kanzler.

Noted Novak’s Founder/President, John Novak, “By activating this vacant site with such a long-term tenant commitment, Whole Foods Market enhances the community and accommodates the needs of its residents, in addition to ushering in an era of new activity and new jobs at this location. I am sure this store will inspire a new vitality in this neighborhood – from morning until night. We are very honored to be a part of that.”

Whole FoodsA large portion of the three primary building facades is covered with an innovative LiveWall greenspace that softens the building’s sleek architecture, while providing greenery along the busy pedestrian corridors. The Lobby includes a full-service roastery for Allegro coffee, which is sold at many Chicagoland Whole Foods stores. To enhance customers’ enjoyment, the second-story retail level includes a wine bar, pub, juice bar, arcade, a Wrigley Field nook and a “porch.” Finally, the construction incorporated “SMART Park” for its 300 indoor parking spaces to facilitate the flow and reduce traffic congestion.

The multiple phases of the actual construction presented the chief challenge for the team. With zero lot line with which to work, Project Director Steve Bykowski cited incredible coordination as his team worked on the basement, ground floor and second floor simultaneously. “However, everything transitioned seamlessly and we hit the target opening date.”

An extensive collaboration across a swath of city officials and community members went into this project as well. Key team members of Novak Construction worked with several key constituencies over a one-year period that included Ald. Tunney, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), St. Luke’s Pastor David Abrahamson, the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce and the West Lakeview Neighbors Association.

Three Inducted into Frozen Food Hall of Fame

The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) and the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) announced that three industry leaders were honored as the recipients of the prestigious Frozen Food Hall of Fame Award during an induction ceremony held at the AFFI Frozen Food Convention (AFFI-CON) on Saturday, March 4, 2017, in San Diego. The 2017 inductees were the late E. Glen Grader, Founder of Albany Frozen Foods; William S. Smittcamp, President and CEO of Wawona Frozen Foods; and Ron Suchecki, retired Vice President of Sales for Ateeco, Inc./Mrs. T’s Pierogies.

“The frozen food industry is one built on innovation. We are proud to honor and celebrate these three gentlemen whose achievements have made the growth and continued success of the industry possible,” said AFFI President and CEO Alison Bodor. Members of the Grader, Smittcamp and Suchecki families were in attendance to recognize the hard work and dedication these men have provided to the industry and the leadership roles they have played in AFFI and NFRA.

E. Glen Grader founded Albany Frozen Foods in 1961 growing the business until its sale in 1975 to Seabrook Foods, Inc. Following the sale, Grader held executive positions with Seabrook Foods, Inc., Oxnard Frozen Foods Corp. and Continental Companies. He served as chairman of the board for AFFI in 1986 and retired in 1987. Grader passed away on Aug. 27, 2014.

William S. Smittcamp is President and CEO of Wawona Frozen Foods in Clovis, California, a family-owned grower and processor of frozen fruit. Smittcamp joined the AFFI board of directors in 1988 and was appointed as AFFI Western Frozen Food Convention chair in 1995. In 1997, he served as AFFI chairman of the board and currently serves on the Frozen Food Foundation and AFFI board of directors.

Ron Suchecki served as Vice President of Sales for Ateeco, Inc./Mrs.T’s Pierogies for nearly 27 years retiring in 2015. Suchecki remains active with the Frozen and Refrigerated Association of the North East (FRANE) receiving FRANE’s “Person of the Year” award in 2015. He served as NFRA’s convention chairman from 2005-2009 and continues to serve on the board of directors.

The Frozen Food Hall of Fame was established in 1990 by the Distinguished Order of Zerocrats, an organization of industry members whose purpose is to maintain the tradition of promoting the image and advancement of the frozen food industry. The Hall of Fame Award honors the individuals whose imagination and innovation have ensured the continued growth and success of the frozen food industry.

Bellwether Farms Introduces Organic Whole Cow Milk Yogurt

Bellwether Farms_OrganicCowYogurtThe Callahan family, Founders of Bellwether Farms, believe in using only full-fat milk for making their yogurt. Bellwether Farms Sheep Yogurt has for 10 years claimed front-row status in dairy cases across the US. Next month, Bellwether Farms will introduce its first Organic Cow Yogurt made with milk from Jersey cows pastured on a farm down the road from their Sonoma County, California, sheep ranch and creamery. The new Organic Cow Yogurt will arrive in freshly designed four-packs of 3.75-ounce transparent cups. Bellwether Farms sources fruit from Oregon’s Columbia River region to blend into Strawberry, Blackberry, Blueberry, and Spiced Apple yogurts “We know our customers appreciate the high quality of the fruit we source, and this cup reveals the fresh fruit ready to blend into the creamy yogurt,” says Liam Callahan, co-Founder, Cheese- and Yogurt Maker. “We source the best fruit and add the minimum amount of sugar necessary.”

Plain and Madagascar Vanilla flavors are also available. In addition to the single-serve cups, a 5.3-ounce cup is planned along with a 32-ounce foodservice size, in all six flavors. Northern California distribution is slated to begin in April.

Pastured Jersey cows give milk that is naturally high in heart healthy fats and nutritious A2 protein, and packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Bellwether Farms blends 12 live, active bacteria strains that work together to deliver the probiotic benefits expected from yogurt. Bellwether Farms doesn’t strain, drain or add stabilizers to make thicker yogurt. The creamy smooth texture comes naturally, coaxed by careful handling of the freshest milk delivered daily to the creamery.

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