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The Lemon Tree Team

At Lemon Tree Grocer, we collectively have decades of experience in the culinary world. We’re passionate about food and are here to help–whether you’re looking for locally sourced fresh produce, the perfect wine pairing, healthy meals for kids, a choice cut of meat or artisanal cheeses from around the world. We want to do more for you than simply bag your groceries. Get acquainted with our team. Also, see what we’ve been doing lately on our blog or feel free to talk to us now.

Tim Canning attained his B.A. in Culinary Arts from Kendall College right here in Chicago. Canning quickly got his start under the watchful guidance of Chef Steven Chiapetti at the renowned Chicago restaurants Mango, Rhapsody, and Mossant Bistro. He then traveled west and honed his skills within the fine dining restaurants of Vancouver and San Diego. Mr. Canning then moved to the opposite coast to open Arbor, a local bistro in Boston, as Chef de Cuisine. During Tim’s seven year span in Boston he worked as Sous Chef under Chef Tony Maws (Best Chef Boston Magazine 07′,08′,09′) at Craigie Street Bistro (Food and Wine “Top Ten Places to Eat Meat in the World”) and also cooked with Michael Leviton at his accomplished restaurants Lumiere and Persephone. Tim Canning has worked hand in hand with local farmers, fish mongers, and meat distributors during his career as chef. In January, Tim moved back to his native home of Chicago with dreams of opening a locally driven fresh produce market. Tim and his business partner Shaun Black were mentored by the industries leading minds in developing the Lemon Tree concept. Canning is the creative mind behind the Lemon Tree’s kitchen as well as running the day to day of the store.

Shaun BlackShaun Black is from the Detroit area and earned his B.A. in Advertising from Michigan State University. Following graduation he joined C.H. Robinson Worldwide, one of the largest transportation and logistics organizations in the world working in produce brokerage. While becoming the top sales associate in the Detroit office, he learned the ins and outs of 21st century produce handling. However, Shaun is a true entrepreneur, always wanting to have his own businesses. His enthusiasm and passion to do things right have left him with strong ideas about how business should be run in order to best serve his customers. Taking the expertise gained at C.H. Robinson, he moved to Chicago and opened the business he runs today, the International Produce Exchange which also serves as the Chicago office of Sunterra, a national produce brokerage firm. Shaun has been incubating the concept of a small specialty grocery for a few years after a good friend brought the concept his way. After searching for just the right location, he and Tim Canning have joined forces with the beautiful community of Downers Grove to make the Lemon Tree Grocer a reality.

Chris has been working in the restaurant industry since graduating high school. His passion for food led him to Moondance Diner in Burr Ridge where he started his career in food service. After leaving the diner, Chris served at various other restaurants in the Western Suburbs, while studying Culinary Arts at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. He has worked in such kitchens as Events by Tommy R, Macys on State Street and Naha. After graduating with his degree in hospitality management, he pursued his long term dream of running a restaurant. He and his business partner took over and ran a pizza joint, Slice, in Naperville. While there he strengthened his managerial identity and business sense. Chris then moved on to fill the General Management position at Klay Oven. Under his direction, a third flagship restaurant, Klay Oven Kitchen, was successfully opened.

Now that Chris is part of the team here at Zest, he plans to bring even more structure, teamwork and his industry knowledge to the front of the house. When Chris is not at Zest talking to guests and motivating his staff he’s golfing and taking trips with his family.

MichaelNMike has a heart for art & communication with a bachelors degree in Advertising graphic design from Columbia College. Born & raised in the suburbs of Chicago he has designed for big clients such as The Chicago Bulls & CTA to start-up businesses around the US. Don’t be fooled by his boyish good looks because this guy has years of creative knowledge.

He started as a server in our Zest cafe and fell in love with Lemon Tree’s motto; We’re more than your neighborhood grocer, we’re your neighbors. “I value the way the employees interact with customers. You can see their true dedication, knowledge and customer care.”

Lemon Tree values Mike because he is like a box of chocolates. You never know what he’ll surprise you with next. When he’s not one on one with his laptop being a creative genius you’ll see him at dinner in Zest for a glass of white wine, calamari & the honey mustard encrusted salmon, his favorite dish.

As the Head Cashier/Manager at Lemon Tree Grocer I am happy to be the person to greet each customer with a smile, and offer them assistance and suggestions. I have been with Lemon Tree since day one and have gotten to know so many of our guests by name that it is a joy to come to work. I look forward to giving the best customer service possible for our “new friends”that come to shop or meet in the cafe for coffee or lunch.

My first cashier position was for McDonald’s. I moved on to working as a New Accounts Clerk for a bank. By the time I was 20 I was Secretary to the Controller at Official Airline Guides in Oak Brook. After getting married and having a family, I took a new career path and started working in the food industry. My past experience as a head cashier for Marriott for 5 years and 10 years working at RockBottom give me the knowledge of giving the best customer service to all the guests. I was a Girl Scout Leader and Assistant Religion Teacher. When I am not at Lemon Tree, I also work as a Caregiver for Seniors. I grew up in Darien and then moved to Naperville where I raised my two daughters and reside now.

At Lemon Tree you get that old time “small grocer” feeling that you will get the best quality of meat, bakery, produce, deli selections and wine. I am glad to be a part of such a wonderful store. So many guests have said, “I just love this store and we are so glad Lemon Tree is here in Downers Grove”.