7500 Industrial Drive, Forest Park | Google Maps

Purely Meats, a meat wholesaler and butcher shop based in West Humboldt Park, 4345 W. Division St., is planning to move to west suburban Forest Park.

Since launching as a butcher shop in Little Italy over 80 years ago, the company grew into a major meat product supplier for grocery stores and restaurants, and residents can take advantage of its online store. In addition to its West Humboldt Park headquarters, it uses the former Moo & Oink grocery store in the Austin neighborhood, 4848 W. Madison St., for storage. The company is looking to move to Forest Park’s industrial district, at 7500 Industrial Dr.

As part of the process, it’s applying for Cook County’s Class 6(b) property tax incentive. Forest Park village council will also need to approve a zoning code change to allow meat processing use in its industrial zoning districts. The Forest Park Village Council hasn’t taken up either of those issues, but the Forest Park Planning & Zoning Commission last week recommended approving the zoning code changes.

Before the pandemic, Purely Meat bought the former Moo & Oink’s Austin location because it wanted to move to a larger location. At its peak, Moo & Oink operated four locations: one in Austin, two on the South Side and one in the south suburbs. All locations closed in 2011, after the company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. As Austin Weekly News reported at the time, it was due to a combination of mounting debt and declining sales during the Great Recession.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused Purely Meat’s sales to plummet by 75%. The company pivoted to online sales. On May 20, 2020, Chicago’s City Council approved a zoning change that would allow them to make a move, but it never left its West Humboldt Park headquarters.

Since then, Purely Meat purchased the Forest Park property. The company applied for the Cook County Class 6(b) tax incentive classification. Industrial properties are usually assessed at 25% of their market value, but the Class 6(b) classification lowers that rate to 10% of the market value for 10 years, then the assessment will increase by 5% a year over the next three years until it returns to 25%. The incentive is designed to encourage companies to build or rehabilitate industrial properties by saving them money on taxes. The Forest Park village council must sign off on a potential tax incentive for the property.

Purely Meat did not respond to Austin Weekly’s request for comment by deadline.

Igor Studenkov

Igor Studenkov is a winner of multiple Illinois Press Association awards for local government and business reporting. He has been contributing to Austin Weekly News since 2015. His work has also appeared...