Peapod leaves Skokie for Chicago

Peapod leaves Skokie for Chicago

The online grocery delivery company is ditching the Chicago suburbs in favor of the Windy City itself.

Peapod LLC, an online grocery delivery service, is moving its corporate headquarters from Skokie, Illinois, to Chicago.

Although it wasn’t announced how many workers will be moving to Peapod’s downtown location, a Peapod executive stated earlier in 2017 that the company would be seeking to consolidate its workforce in a large office space in downtown Chicago, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

Peapod employs roughly 300 corporate workers in the Chicago area.

“Moving our headquarters downtown will allow us to become a bigger part of the Chicago business community and invest in the city’s diverse pool of talent while also growing our business throughout the country,” said Peapod President Walt Lentz in a statement reported by Crain’s.

Peapod has deep roots in the Chicago suburbs. The company was originally started by the Parkinson brothers in Evanston in 1989, and later moved to Skokie. However, with the threat from larger companies such as Amazon and Walmart moving into the online grocery delivery business, Peapod looked to stay one step ahead of the competition by innovating and opened Peapod Propulsion Labs. The Peapod Propulsion Labs office was opened in downtown Chicago to serve as a tech incubator for the company.

It was later, under then-President Jennifer Carr-Smith, that Peapod planned to move its headquarters to Chicago to stay competitive for attracting top talent.

Peapod is just one of many companies to move to Chicago in order to gain access to its business network and large, skilled workforce. Companies such as Kraft Heinz, Motorola Solutions and Walgreens have consolidated all or part of their corporate offices within the city in order to gain access to Chicago’s advantages. Even fast food giant McDonald’s, which had been headquartered in Oak Brook since 1971, announced in 2016 its plans to move the golden arches’ corporate headquarters to the Windy City.

And although Chicago’s manufacturing sector has been largely hollowed out in recent years, the same thing cannot be said of its market for tech jobs.

Chicagoland suburbs will be hard-pressed to offer the same kind of advantages as the city of Chicago. It’s a major transportation hub, has a large and skilled workforce, and is home to several large public and private universities, which give tech companies access to top talent.

If towns like Skokie want to retain jobs and residents, they would be wise to re-examine their economic policies and seek pro-growth reforms. Otherwise, Chicago may continue to gobble up good jobs.

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