Good Works Chicago: Herb and Shelly’s

By Eric Coats

Shelly Herman, founder of Herb and Shelly’s, joined Good Works Chicago on Dec. 16 to discuss the farm fresh market. Herb and Shelly’s delivers fresh food to its customers— everything from vegetables and eggs to meats and dairies. Several years after meeting her husband while studying business at MIT, the two decided to develop an ethical and healthy company which sources its produce from local growers. Herb and Shelly’s makes sure each grower is being treated fairly, and that the farmworkers on the farms are treated fairly. The company seeks to maintain a mutually beneficial business arrangement, usually conducted by a handshake. The company’s mission, according to Shelly, is to preserve the environment, help provide access to healthy food to all, and contribute to a vibrant, local economy.

Shelly has a profound philosophy around the way she believes workers must be treated. She sees workers first and foremost as people, individuals who deserve fair pay, vacation days, holidays, sick days, personal days, and financial support for health insurance. She understands that companies have needs, especially the need to keep costs down, but she says “cutting wages and workers' benefits as a way to be efficient is shortsighted.”

Shelly says she's a firm believer in creating a positive environment which nurtures workers and when that happens, success rings ten-fold. This seems to be a pattern with employers who have made the wise (and economically-efficient) decision to invest in their workers rather than merely see them as expendable capital.

In the future Herb and Shelly’s will strive to provide fresh, healthy and delicious food to a variety of neighborhoods and incomes, while conducting a fair, socially-conscious, and still-efficient company.

If you believe you are a not being treated fairly by your employer or are a victim of wage theft and are being paid unfairly, please call IWJ's Wage Theft Legal Clinic at (773) 998-1320. The hotline is open on Mondays from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. The Wage Theft Clinic is located at 19 W. Jackson Blvd. at the John Marshall Law School. All messages will be answered within 24 hours.