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08/12/2022

PlantX expands retail operations to Chicago

XMarket Uptown is believed to be world’s largest vegan store and will include a food hall
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Produce section XMarket Chicago

PlantX has announced the opening of a huge vegan superstore in Chicago. The Vancouver-based company says XMarket Uptown is believed to be the largest vegan store in the world. It opened in a former Peter Rubi location (also known for its plant-based groceries), whose assets PlantX acquired last year.

“The reason we liked [the Chicago] location more than anything is it has a full upstairs,” says Alex Hoffman, chief marketing officer at PlantX. “So, in addition to 6,000 square feet of consumer shopping space downstairs, the upstairs is 6,000 square feet of warehouse space to power our e-commerce,”

Founded in 2019, PlantX has opened six XMarket stores: Squamish, B.C., Ottawa, Toronto, Venice Beach and Tel Aviv, as well as one Peter Rubi co-branded location in Plainfield, IL.

The XMarket retail concept is designed to educate consumers, make the plant-based lifestyle more accessible, and collaborate with brands in the space on sampling sessions and educational activations

The company sells thousands of plant-based grocery items across the dry goods, frozen and refrigerated categories in store and online at PlantX.com and PlantX.ca.

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Produce section XMarket Chicago

In a first, the new Chicago store also features fresh produce. “The produce section takes up a nice portion of the front space in the new store, and then we have everything you’d find in a traditional grocery store, including frozen and refrigerated, dairy and meat alternatives, and grab-and-go items,” saysHoffman. Some of the grab-and-go items include cut-up fruits and vegetables, dips, salsas, bowls and sandwiches.

PlantX is also building a food hall in the new store, which is slated to open this fall. “We’re bringing in five to six vendors who will set up their stores within the store,” says Hoffman. “It’ll be more of a destination spot where customers can go and eat lunch or spend some time at the bar or coffee shop.”

As for the company’s expansion plans, Hoffman says PlantX is looking for franchise opportunities in Canada and the U.S. “We have a lot of requests right now for different areas, but we won’t be opening up our own [stores] because we have all the distribution we need,” she says. “So, franchise is really the future of it all.”