From Marketplace to Storefront: The New Chia Leah Location Is Now Open In Wilmette

The doors are open to Wilmette’s newest storefront.

Healthful food shop Chia Leah Clean Eats welcomed customers for the first time on Monday morning, Jan. 9, in West Edens Plaza.

Proprietor Leah Bostrom and her team have been rehabbing the unit since the summer.

“It’s been a long time coming. It feels exciting now that we’re finally in it,” Bostrom told The Record. “We’re ready to open the doors and get more people fed good food.”

Chia Leah’s shelves in its new Wilmette storefront include a variety of Clean Bites | Courtesy of The Record North Shore

The new storefront offers all the items available on the Chia Leah website — such as the popular breakfast cookies and Clean Bites — in a grab-and-go format. But that’s not all. Bostrom said the store will offer weekly specials such as Chia puddings, pies and a tea of the day. On Monday, roasted beet hummus and cherry chocolate mini pies were available.

Behind the front of the house is Chia Leah’s headquarters, including a commercial kitchen to prepare items for the store and for the business’s 40 retail clients.

Chia Leah was born in 2015 as a solution for Bostrom and her family.

Bostrom was in need of allergen-free, healthful snacks for her children and an energy, mental-health boost for her. Chia Leah, as a health and life coach, then developed different recipes to help her clients.

Those recipes turned into Chia Leah Clean Eats, vegan and gluten-free snacks with natural ingredients, such as — of course — chia seeds, nutritional yeast, quinoa flakes, dark chocolate and fruit, including banana, orange, cherries and more

Chia Leah’s breakfast cookies are among its most popular offerings and are available fresh and packaged at the shop | Courtesy of The Record North Shore

Around 2018, Bostrom sold her items at farmers markets, then through her online store and eventually at local shops and grocery stores. Today, Chia Leah snack products are in nearly 40 Chicagoland stores: Central Station Coffee and Tea, Hometown Coffee and Juice, Sunset Foods, The Grand and more, plus one in Atlanta.

In her store, Bostrom hopes to highlight other local brands and food startups, like she once was.

“We were at that point not so long ago,” she said. “I want to help other brands get out there. It will hopefully be helpful to them and obviously fun for customers to just try something new and constantly keep it fresh. That’s really important to me.”

The West Edens location — 3217 Lake Ave. #4C — will be open 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturdays.

Editor’s Note: In 2021 and 2022, Leah Bostrom was named Best Health and Wellness Coach in Better’s Best of Health & Fitness roundup.

This article originally appeared in The Record North Shore, a local news nonprofit.

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