Ben Heins and Jacob Elster are two entrepreneurs who are trying to serve food and beverages to companies in the pantry room, made in the local market. Elster owns a Crop to Cup coffee distribution that is instrumental in supporting Uganda family farmers. Heins’ owns bean and Body that produces tea and coffee beverages for health conscious people and supplies them in cans. Both these entrepreneurs are looking to take a cue from Go Local initiatives in Chicago to try and convince Chicago based companies to buy local products from them.
The plan behind this agenda is to rope in corporate customers who have their Go Green committee supporting changes within the company to contribute their bit to the conservation of the environment. Ordering from local supplies would ensure less transportation costs and lot of savings. This is the main selling point of Heins and Elster as they try to talk more corporate big shots into the deals that will help support the local food manufacturing industry of Chicago. The two have also been able to bring in Mark Ven, a local distributor from Northbrook and also several other products made locally to join the attempt to get a distribution base in Chicago.
With a view to promote entrepreneurship many organizations are lending their support to this sort of collaboration which was launched last week at the annual meeting of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, whose chairman for the past 3 years, James Tyree pointed out that only innovation along with entrepreneurship can move the region forward. According to DeHaas, who takes over from James as the new chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, Chicago is in a great position for such business growth. This is owing to its diversified economy, a transportation which is truly high class, a central location and a spirit that is collaborative and innovative.
Heins and Elster had come up with similar ideas in the past too and had created Odd Pairs which allowed food makers to be more creative and compete with each other and create an odd pair at the event. The partner Terry Opalek of Terry’s toffee, that makes around 15 flavors of different toffees that are sold in the retail shop owned by it and in other wholesale stores, said that this is the right time for going local as more and more customers are inclined to buy local goods in the last one year.