Bronzeville residents may notice something new under the shadows of the Green Line at 51st Street: Boxville, Chicago's first mall built from shipping containers, and home to the first South Side outpost of Lincoln Park farmers market Green City Market, opens today.
Boxville, which will also host a french fry shop, is anchored by the three-year-old Bike Box, a bike-repair shop built inside a 20-foot steel shipping container. Today's expansion is thanks in part to Chicagoan Bernard Loyd, the founder and president of community development group Urban Juncture, which operates Bronzeville Incubator.
Corey Gilkey, an owner of the Leaders 1354 streetwear shop, approached the incubator about opening a pomme frites shop, inspired by Gilkey's travels to places like Amsterdam and Belgium, Loyd says. “I told him, ‘You don’t need that much space for that concept, you only need a fraction. Why don’t you consider a box?’”
Months following that meeting, Loyd had a similar discussion with Melissa Flynn, executive director of Green City Market. As Loyd and Flynn discussed Green City’s mission of increasing access to fresh produce, he floated the idea of a produce “box” for Green City in Bronzeville, "a neighborhood that doesn’t have many healthy options,” he says.