Open for Business: Peoria business offering families farm-fresh produce amid pandemic concerns

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – For Katie Couri Rodolfi, seeing green is as much of a business goal as it is a lifestyle goal with her shop, Sous Chef Grocery Store.

“Sous Chef is here because it’s the kind of grocery store that I wanted to shop in,” she said.

In October 2018, Couri Rodolfi opened the store in Peoria with the goal of introducing fresh goods to central Illinois families even when farmers’ markets were closed for the season. 

“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if there was a store where you could go all year round and get farm-fresh produce?'” she said. “When you get it from right next door, it is fresher. It is tastier. It is more nutritious.”

Two years after opening, Couri Rodolfi said she never could have guessed that the coronavirus pandemic would take the hold that it did on small businesses. 

“It was not so much from the perspective of a small business owner, but the perspective of just a person. Like ‘Oh my goodness. What is happening in the world here?’ You know?” she said.

While Sous Chef did have to stop serving brunch under the state’s new COVID-19 mitigations, Couri Rodolfi said overall, the grocery store hasn’t been impacted much by the virus. 

She said, “We always see a drop off in sales during the summer when the outdoor markets are open. And then people come back when the markets close and we’ve seen that same trend.”

Whether it’s Sous Chef or any other local small business, Couri Rodolfi said it’s more important now than ever to support community operations. 

“There’s been a great conversation about making sure that businesses that you enjoy are still there once all of this has passed,” she said.

Sous Chef Grocery Store is located at 1311 Southwest Adams Street in Peoria.

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