French owners of market visit Niles

Published 10:30 pm Saturday, August 25, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – The Bensidoun family has been in the French Market business for five generations, giving residents of various cities a chance to sample some of the best breads and pastries around.
To date, the family-owned business currently operates 80 markets in France, 25 in Paris and 10 in the United States, one which includes Niles' very own French Market. The family has one of the largest markets in Europe, as well.
Sebastian Bensidoun, along with his father, Rolland, mother Simone, wife Jennifer and their two children, Ava and Levana, were in Niles Thursday afternoon visiting the downtown market.
"We are really enjoying the United States. It's a country we like and maybe hope to retire here someday," Sebastian and his father, Rolland, said. "Right now we are here visiting all of our markets."
Along with the Niles market, other Bensidoun French Markets are in New York, Chicago and Connecticut. Sebastian was excited to talk about the family's plans for a new indoor market in Chicago.
"It will be in downtown Chicago and will be a total of 15,000 square feet, by Union Station. There are a lot of people there, with a daily commute of around 95,000 people, so we are excited about that," Sebastian added.
He explained the French Markets offer a wide variety of foods, including breads, cheeses and produce. The markets also feature bath and body products and jewelry, along with a variety of other items.
"My father has been in this business since he was a child, before that his grandfathers and great-grandfathers were involved and this is something we hope will continue through the family, including with my nephews," Sebastian said.
Rolland began managing open-air markets in 1953 in and around Paris. Since, he has expanded his operation to other countries with the help of Sebastian and his other son, Pascal.
Niles residence have the Bensidoun family to thank for the popular market, which is held every Thursday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"It's just great. We really enjoy the market and I come here every Thursday to get produce. I've also enjoyed the croissants from the Sisters. Their food is amazing," Julia Thompson of Edwardsburg said.
The Bensidoun family will continue to build their French Market business, in hopes of making other residents of other cities just as happy as they are here.
"When you love something, you don't count, you just keep going," Rolland added.