City Grange Closes Lincoln Square, Beverly Garden Stores, Hints At Possible Comeback In Edgewater

LINCOLN SQUARE — Beloved plant shop City Grange has closed its North and South side locations, but its owner is hoping a comeback is still in the cards.

City Grange opened in spring 2019 at 5500 N. Western Ave. and quickly became a hub for the North Side gardening community. It opened a Beverly location the next year, helping fill a demand for more gardening supplies during the pandemic.

Both stores are now permanently closed, owner LaManda Joy confirmed. The decision to close was made after Joy moved back to the West Coast for family reasons, she said.

The shops closed for a holiday break after Christmas and never reopened, with Joy ultimately deciding she could not run the businesses from afar.

“It’s so heartbreaking for me,” Joy said.

While the Beverly and Lincoln Square locations are permanently closed, the business could have a comeback in Edgewater.

City Grange opened a holiday pop-up at the longtime home of framing shop Granville Pictures, 6200 N. Broadway. That venture closed after the holidays, but the business still holds the lease on the historical storefront, Joy said. City Grange could relaunch in a pared-down manner from that location, she said.

“Our goal is to reset, shrink it down a bit, so I could run it from afar,” Joy said. “It’s still plausible.”

Joy opened City Grange after a decade as a prominent member of Chicago’s urban gardening community. In 2010, she founded the Peterson Garden Project, the community gardening group that started with one garden and now has thousands of volunteer gardeners and six plots throughout the North Side.

With the Peterson Garden Project becoming such a success, Joy wanted to open a brick and mortar store to provide new and seasoned gardeners with organic supplies.

“With creating so many new gardeners, we knew they were going to need to buy their supplies somewhere,” she previously told Block Club. “We figured, might as well buy from us.”

PAST COVERAGE: No Green Thumb? City Grange Is Ready To Turn You Into An Urban Gardener

City Grange sold plants, seeds, gardening supplies and more. It offered various gardening kits and provided training for those new to the hobby. The business also launched a job training initiative to get more people — especially young people — into the landscaping and gardening profession.

The business had to contend with the coronavirus pandemic a year after its founding. Though the pandemic saw an uptick in backyard gardening, plant shops still faced the same difficulties as most local businesses did during the pandemic, Joy said.

City Grange’s North Side location.

When she moved back to the West Coast, Joy said the difficult decision was made to close down the business that had been a dream of hers for over a decade.

“I’d been working on City Grange since 2012,” Joy said. “People think of it [business closings] in terms of economics. Those are people’s dreams.”

One silver lining, Joy said, is that the City Grange location in Beverly will be used by Afro Joe’s Coffee & Tea, an Auburn Gresham coffee shop that relocated to 99th Street. Joy said she’s happy the space will go to another small business and has hopes for the same to happen at the Lincoln Square location.

“We put a lot of love into these stores,” she said. “It’s great other small businesses will get to use it.”

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