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How This Women-Led Business Makes Quality Food Affordable

7 min read

In the “Success Stories” section of the Ecwid blog, we get to publish the real-life stories of business owners who run their online stores with Ecwid by Lightspeed. You can meet fellow entrepreneurs and learn how to use Ecwid to make a thriving business.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Liz Abunaw. Liz founded Forty Acres Fresh Market on Chicago’s westside in 2018 because she saw how the lack of fresh food options in the area impeded her community. Liz wanted to do her part to help.

Five years later, her business provides access to high-quality produce to everyone in the community. She hosts monthly pop-ups, delivery, and subscription services. Read on to find out how she does it all!

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Meet Liz and Forty Acres Fresh Market

Forty Acres Fresh Market is a Black and woman-owned grocery retailer that combats health and economic inequity by increasing access to affordable fresh food in underserved communities.

Liz Abunaw, the founder of Forty Acres Fresh Market

Forty Acres Fresh Market was founded by Liz Abunaw, who wants to increase access to fresh food options on Chicago’s westside.

 Our motto is, “Fresh food for all, because every hood should be healthy.” Liz Abunaw

In 2018, Liz hosted Forty Acres Fresh Market’s first popup market. Just a year later, she expanded her business by launching a delivery subscription service of fresh produce.

The first Forty Acres Fresh Market popup team

In 2020, Forty Acres Fresh Market continued to grow by leveraging online selling. They even have found property to hold the first Forty Acres Fresh Market brick-and-mortar store.

Currently, Forty Acres Fresh Market operates as a mobile produce vendor, selling fresh fruit and vegetables through seasonal pop-up markets and produce stands. Their markets are held in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood on the city’s westside. They also offer daily delivery service for preselected produce boxes throughout the city.

Popup market by Forty Acres Fresh Market

The Mission of Forty Acres Fresh Market

The Forty Acres Fresh Market team believes in the power of communities to develop, build, and sustain their own resources. Their main mission is to increase access to affordable, high-quality, and fresh food in underserved areas.

Since 2020, Forty Acres Fresh Market has also served thousands of Chicago households as a supplier for food distribution programs in collaboration with non-profit organizations.

 Our service is open to all, and we accept SNAP EBT* because high-quality fresh produce at a great price should be accessible for all. Liz Abunaw

*Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system that helps people access healthier food and other benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The Forty Acres Fresh Market produce stand

Forty Acres Fresh Market and the hardworking team behind it have become a vital part of the economic revitalization of Chicago’s westside. The awards they receive are proof that they bring their mission to life:

  • 2021  People’s Choice Award at the Chicago Innovation Awards
  • 2022  Winner of Famous Amos: Ingredients for Success.

Liz and Forty Acres Fresh Market have big plans for the future, even beyond the incredible impact they have already had.

 We look forward to opening our first brick-and-mortar store, which will allow us to expand beyond fresh produce to service all of our customer’s grocery needs. Liz Abunaw

Mix It Up Box Subscription by Forty Acres Fresh Market

Leveraging Online Selling

In 2019, Forty Acres Fresh Market launched a subscription option for their delivery service. Initially, they used another platform to capture orders and process payments. However, it was not user-friendly, especially because payment collection was not automatic.

While searching for platforms that similar businesses use, they found Ecwid by Lightspeed. Ecwid helped them automate the subscription payment process and expand their online presence.

 Ecwid allowed us to set up a professional selling page and connect it to a payment processor to set up automatic payments for our subscription customers. Best of all, the cost was extremely affordable. Liz Abunaw

Forty Acres Fresh Market also uses Ecwid to set up tiered delivery fees by zip code, capture customer emails, and embed their online store within their social media platforms and website.

Forty Acres Fresh Market’s subscription page

Liz’s Advice to Business Owners

We asked Liz to share a word of wisdom for fellow and aspiring entrepreneurs. She strongly advises business owners to create a structure for their business as soon as possible.

 Creating company policies, best practices, and operational plans gives you a strong foundation from which to grow your business. Liz Abunaw

Liz emphasizes that having a structure allows a business owner to expand and grow their business instead of executing day-to-day tasks.

 Developing processes for everything you do is the key to moving from working in your business on a daily basis to having the freedom to work ON the business.  Liz Abunaw

Make sure to check out Forty Acres Fresh Market’s website to see how they help their community—we’re sure you’ll be inspired to build a business that serves a purpose.

A Forty Acres Fresh Market customer

Share Your Story on the Blog

In the “Success Stories” section of the Ecwid by Lightspeed blog, you can get to know fellow merchants and learn from first-hand experience.

If you’d like to share your experience running an Ecwid store or give advice to fellow entrepreneurs on how to use Ecwid tools to the fullest, we’d love to hear from you. Reach out to blog@ecwid.com, and we’ll take it from there!

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About the author

Anastasia Prokofieva is a content writer at Ecwid. She writes about online marketing and promotion to make entrepreneurs’ daily routine easier and more rewarding. She also has a soft spot for cats, chocolate, and making kombucha at home.

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