Is Elgin resident Jeff Turner out to establish an In The Neighborhood suburban deli chain?
"It could very well be," said Turner, who's getting ready to open a new deli in East Dundee to add to his two locations in Elgin.
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"If the right opportunity comes along, we're all about bringing communities together."
In the Neighborhood Meet Market at 310 N. River St. in East Dundee is expected to open Aug. 12, Turner said. The business venture includes Turner's wife, Megan, and their business partners, Candice Gillen and Toby Eshelman, he added.
The East Dundee opportunity pretty much fell into his lap, Turner said.
Tom Roeser, who owns the building on River Street, was interested in a deli business, so former Elgin Councilman Mike Warren facilitated a meeting between Roeser and Turner in June, Turner said. Roeser also owns Otto Engineering in Carpentersville.
"Within a half an hour (Tom and I) were best friends. The deal was pretty much done at that point," Turner said.
The menu at the East Dundee location, which previously held the Italian eatery Ciao, will be very similar to the menu at the other two locations, Tuner said.
The first In The Neighborhood Deli on Edison Avenue in Elgin opened in April 2008, followed by In the Neighborhood Fresh inside Elgin's Gail Borden Public Library last December.
Turner, a graduate of Elgin Community College's culinary arts program, said he had "a growing mindset" from the start, but his plans were stalled by the economic recession that hit three months after he opened his first business.
He has about 20 full- and part-time employees, and will add about 10 more at the new location, he said. He also runs a catering business that employees another 30 or so part-timers, he added.
East Dundee Village President Lael Miller said he's thrilled, especially because Turner has solid business experience.
Also, the deli is a perfect fit for East Dundee, because village officials are hoping to turn downtown into a culinary destination as part of a multimillion-dollar plan to revamp downtown, Miller said.
Van's Frozen Custard recently relocated from Carpentersville to downtown East Dundee, he added.
Turner has been organizing free community dinners in Elgin for the last few years. He said he hopes to start a similar tradition in East Dundee, possibly as early as Christmas.