In 1986, Greek Immigrants Dimitrious "Jimmy" Bousis and his late partner Pantelis "Pandelo" Tzotzolis dreamed of opening a grocery store that would offer their customers the freshest produce at the most affordable prices. As pioneers in the independent grocery business in Chicago, they aimed for change; introducing advancements that transformed traditional produce stores into full service enterprises. Since their humble beginnings and under their leadership, Cermak Fresh Market has grown to over 11 grocery stores, has served millions of customers, and continues to expand throughout the Greater Chicago areas.
Our first store, a mere 2,500 square feet was named Central Park Produce (on Central Park, Grand and Division Streets). Central Park became our introduction to the grocery business and helped us understand the success we could potentially achieve. In 1993, together, they added a second store on Cermak Road and Cicero Avenue, conveniently named Cermak Produce. They introduced a fresh meat and poultry section, or 'carneceria,' to the stores even though it was predominantly a produce driven store. This proved to be a huge success within it’s first couple years of operation as Cermak Produce became one of the most profitable and highest grossing food stores in the entire country per square foot. In an effort to sustain our popular demand, Cermak quickly opened four more stores. Each store was strategically located within the ethnic boundaries within the limits of the City of Chicago to continuously cater to our customers.
As Cermak Market’s success grew, so did Jim and Pandelo’s vision. By fulfilling their customer’s requests and needs, they added a complete dairy section, expanded our grocery selections, introduced a full service deli counter and opened a bakery. From 2002 and on, Cermak has opened another seven (7) grocery stores, with the most recent opening in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in July of 2012. Cermak Fresh Market Milwaukee is the first Cermak store located outside the state of Illinois and is an ongoing reflection of our continuous growth and commitment to our customers.
Cermak Market is still a family owned business, and we hope it always will be. Jimmy’s son Michael operates and independently owns Cermak Fresh Market #10 in Aurora, Illinois, which is our largest location. At 95,000 square feet, Cermak Aurora has led the movement to the modernization and innovation of the future Cermak chain. Michael recently opened our first out-of-state expansion in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in July of 2012.
Panteli’s son’s Bobby and Taso Tzotzolis are also an integral part of store management, and they carry on their father’s legacy of serving our customers and our local communities. With their active involvement and endless dedication, Bobby and Taso have continued to aid in the continued growth of Cermak Fresh Market’s.
Although Jimmy's long-time partner passed away in 2008, his memory and impact will forever be remembered. He will continuously reminds us of the dream he left behind and the mark he left on those around him. His wife Eleni and two sons Bobby and Taso survive Pantelis today. Jimmy is married to wife Eleni and have four children: Michael, Victoria, Evangelo and George.