Goodbye groceries

31 01 2008

Westboro Market has closed its doors and papered over the windows. I guess they gave it their best but couldn’t make a go of it…

Did you shop there? And will you miss it?

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14 responses

2 02 2008
beny

I am not surprised that Westboro Market has closed. It was way over priced and completely lacking curb in appeal. Why not spend a little more to spruce the place up in order to attract people?
I was so excited when I heard that they were opening as I live a stone throw away and was looking forward to having something close by for fresh local baked goods – what a let down!

4 02 2008
Anonymous

I agree with Beny. I was really looking forward to having a local food place but I just don’t think it got it quite right. The prepared foods looked good but just too pricey. I would pop in for the odd piece of fruit or veg if I couldn’t be bothered going to the Superstore and I did like their gourmet breads but that was about it. I think we need a good deli (like Nicastros) or bakery (really miss Westboro Bakeries) and yes, they needed to have a good window display to entice people in. I hope something good goes in its place
Anna

4 02 2008
dagne

I’m not surprised but I’m extremely disappointed. The owners got some things wrong, including going in with less capital than they needed to make a proper start (they needed full shelves from day one), but they were trying to deliver something that this neighbourhood sorely needs and I’m grateful to them for that. I’m so committed to the idea that I shopped their regularly, even when I knew I couldn’t get nearly everything I needed, because I wanted to give them my support. It meant I got into conversations with them about what they could be carrying and could be doing differently. We’re all busy and want convenience from day one, but if local residents won’t lend their support and speak up about what they want, who will? I think local residents are partly to blame here, even though it’s fairly obvious where the owners went wrong. I can only pray that the owners are successful in selling it (at a bargain basement price as I understand it) to new owners who can make it work. If we get another yoga clothing or other lifestyle shop in its place, I’ll have lost all faith in Westboro.

5 02 2008
Carl N.

The thriving neighbourhood streets of Toronto, even when they’ve gone upscale like Bloor West Village, always have room for simple greengrocers and flower shops. The Westboro BIA seems only intent on getting high-end clients in the village, which just won’t work — or is that just my impression of the BIA? We need more balance.
I chose Ottawa over Toronto, but there are some things that city can teach us. Wellington West down the road is a good model, too.

5 02 2008
The WolfMann

Farewell Westboro Market!

Your previous erudite correspondents have said it all, but maybe it doesn’t hurt to reinforce some of those thoughts, with the hope that Westboro Market will regroup. If not, we should try to attract a food store of the Nicastro’s or at least Herb and Spice category to the ‘hood. We need one, and God knows we certainly don’t need another adventure clothing outfit.

Sorry, I missed the unofficial closing and papering-over ceremony as I was in la la land last week, ironically dining at Sushi Roku’s newest in Hollywood, and wondering if entrepreneurs like Westboro Market might be game for this kind of high end franchise.

The Westboro Market concept was great. We were thrilled with the more exotic prepared items such as ostrich filets and potato salad marinated in coconut milk. (The stuffed eggplant was a little chewey, but hey, being a guy I was never wild about eggplant anyway.)

David and Susan took our suggestions to heart, such as stocking a few staple items like 1%regular milk in the 4 L. size when we assured them such things would bring people in on a regular basis. (Contrary to what you may have heard, most Westborians don’t search out lactose-free low-fat omega-3 organic goat’s milk for their Cheerios.)

Westboro Market was a Godsend when a family member forgot to bring the mashed potatoes for a pot-luck type family dinner, and we able to find some plain white potatoes that could be whipped up in a hurry.

For our condominium’s holiday season party we had Westboro Market do the catering and they were fantastic! A little pricey, but we thought it might help keep them afloat as business did seem to be slowing down for them. Best selection of cheeses I have ever seen, with none of those middle-aged orange cheddars that the more pedestrian caterers use for bulk fill.

And their cookies!! To die for. We put them out at a condo business meeting and, well, I think we found the secret to acieving high attendance levels.

There’s still lots or room for a tony little eatery in this end of Westboro, and this is where Westboro Market really missed a Golden opportunity (yes, that was a pun, not too subtle I hope). A few tables and chairs inside the door would have been much more inviting than, well, nothing. I’ll bet that in no time at all they would have added a few more down one side, like Nicastro’s on Wellington did.

They could have used that open space down near the rear door for shelves of groceries. Never did figure out what it was supposed to be … a new open dining concept?

5 02 2008
Anonymous

I don’t understand Carl N’s comment on the BIA. What does the BIA have to do with an unsuccessful business venture? Landlords control the rents, not the BIA.

I think Westboro Market’s downfall was the price and variety. By focusing on only organic it appeals to a smaller market. I think the Herb and Spice model would be the most successful.

9 02 2008
jpdaigle

This is really too bad! I liked the place. Westboro Market was a nice little shop to try and get good bread for dinner (nothing good at the Superstore, Herb and Spice is a little far – what’s one to do?). My pet peeve with them was the opening hours: seriously, they’d close at 17:00 on weekends and 19:00 on weekdays. By the time you’re driving home from the office and thinking about dinner, they’re closing up shop for the night.

11 02 2008
Gabriella

After coming back from France and living in a small French village for three years, I am dying for the feeling of a self-sufficient village again where one can WALK
to the local businesses and get all they need for food that day.
When the market opened, I was
excited and in anticipation for
fresh fruit, vegetables and your average staple foods to be available within the village and within walking distance.
I desperately tried to use the market for this reason but was often disappointed with the lack
of stuff that they had. The speciality stuff was great often to expensive for me to justify buying it.
I think OUR village needs a small
general health-food store so that us people who like the idea of being able to walk to their village and buy everything they need for food that day without going to the BIG Superstore can do it.
In France, they make the concept seem so easy, every village has a bakery (actually at least 3 of them…yummy!!), wine store, butcher and market for fruit and veggies. (I was actually surprised to see that the only thing French villages did not have were cafes, they had brasseries instead which are definitely no the same thing..)Everyday I would walk with my little boy down to the village and buy all I needed for the day. Then I would go to the big store only once a week to stock up on bulk items. It was fabulous, a real thriving, quaint community. Why can’t Westboro focus less on athletic wear and more on what the community needs on a day to day basis?? (This is not to say I like the variety of athletic clothing, I’m quite athletic myself, but really, do we need so many of them in our community alone?? I still go back to my favourite 3 anyway and don’t really need 6 stores to pick a sports bra.)
Perhaps we should learn from other countries that have succeeded for centuries in creating the thriving village. Obviously they are doing something write, they haven’t changed their businesses for decades.
Westboro is definitely on its way there, I am really happy with how the community is developing. However, I think now is the time for the community planners to not over do it by catering specifically to just the high-end athletic shoppers and start catering to a mixed demographics!! I like the opportunity for my community to express itself and cater to all types of people and general needs.
That all being said, lets get a healthy, not to expensive small food store and hope it can include a bakery and hey,why not a butcher as well!??

Regards,
Gabriella

11 02 2008
edi

I would like to see a Nicastro type deli or Herb and Spice open in that space. It is a fantastic spot with lots of windows and a fantastic kitchen at the back. I agree with the anonymous writer that the LAST thing we need is another yoga,outdoor gear store. I love westboro but enough already! How much yoga gear do you really need

11 02 2008
Anonymous

That’s pretty disapointing that the westboro market has closed it’s doors. Another business that is taking place that seems to be flourishing is a grassroots effort by a company called Westboro games. A resident of our neighborhood, Kim long has produced and is currently selling a boardgame called logos. This is being sold across ontario and has quite the following. It has appeared in tradeshows and in the Ottawa Business Journal, the Kitchissippi times and in stores like Mrs. Tiggywinkles and Collected Works. It combines a crossword component, a synonym/antonym category and a spell/define category; great for anyone who’s into word games! If you’d like a better description go to http://www.logosgame.com and there is an instructional video on the website. I’ve really enjoyed the game and so has everyone I’ve played it with so far!

13 02 2008
Kelly Storie

I just moved here from Vancouver and was very excited to see an organic food store at the end of my street. However, I was very disappointed with the selection, the feel of the store was too big.. and the prices were too high, even by Vancouver standards. I wanted to go in and question what the marketing strategy was. without knowing the neighbourhood very well, even within a month, I could see that it wasn’t working. Sure enough it closed a few weeks after.
Vancouver has great organic stores, that carry a large variety of import, specialty, bulk and regular groceries. The diversity of products is what makes it work in small local neighbourhoods, while still offering large selections of organic products for those who are looking for that. I would love to see another grocer at the end of the street, and I am looking forward to seeing what is next.

20 02 2008
beny

Ditto to the idea of a Nicastro’s or a Herb & Spice! Westboro needs alot of what West Wellington Village has to offer!!
And I could not agree more with the comment of not needing any more clothing/yoga/Outdoor stores!!

11 03 2008
David

I think they might have been a little too soon in coming and located poorly. If anyone is going to make another shot at this, a good place would be on the ground floor of the new Westboro Station condominium block (Bourk’s) at the Golden Ave corner. That location would have some prominence, a built-in walk-in clientele in the condos above and across the road as well as from the other older apartment blocks in the area and the new seniors residence going in beside Rogers. It might also have a little bit more in the way of parking available.

12 03 2008
JJ

I too love the concept of a small neighbourhood grocery and am familiar with neighbourhoods in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal where these stores work. In all cases the mix of businesses is more diverse, there are lots of people on the streets and there isn’t a superstore within easy walking distance.
The day the Westboro Market opened I visited and could see right away that it wasn’t going to remain open for long. There was a definite lack of appeal in the windows, on the shelves and in the vegetable/fruit displays. The prepared food was too expensive and the baking was soso.I shopped there when I could though.
I imagine the rents in this area are very high, which is why we can’t support a diversity of stores, and there doesn’t seem to be any way to control who owns what. Perhaps the owner of this particular building would rather see it empty so they can justify tearing it down to build condos.

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