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Are Loblaws and David's Tea killing Church Street?

Posted by Robyn Urback / January 23, 2013

Loblaws Maple Leaf GardensThe big names on the block are now David's Tea, ACME Burger, Second Cup, and, of course Loblaws. And longtime Church and Wellesley institutions — Reither's Fine Foods and the Barn, to name a couple — have packed up and left, taking a little independent character with them.

And with neighbourhood gift shop Flatiron's set to close its doors in March, it looks like rising rents and encroaching chains might change the Village for good.

According to a feature by Xtra Canada, residents are worried that the recent influx of corporate franchises is having an eroding effect on Village culture. Some have noted the relative disappearance of rainbow flags, while others have gone so far as to say that franchises are "ruining" the community.

Indeed, from a economic consumer perspective, the area is thriving just as much as ever. But does it come at the expense of neighbourhood character? Loblaws, you ho, this is all your fault.

Discussion

80 Comments

Al / January 23, 2013 at 02:01 pm
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"Are Loblaws and David's Tea killing Church Street?"

No.
kat / January 23, 2013 at 02:04 pm
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if you want to make a serious note on how gentrification changes neighbourhoods, calling a corporation a "ho" isn't the best way to go about it.
comeon / January 23, 2013 at 02:04 pm
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what a dumb ass article.
always / January 23, 2013 at 02:07 pm
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Hasn't the gay community for years want to be considered part of Toronto and its culture?

Well gentrification is what happens to communities.

Its now happening on Church St.

So now the gay community should feel more a part of Toronto than ever before.
Hamish Grant / January 23, 2013 at 02:07 pm
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Maybe being gay just isn't that big a deal anymore in Toronto?
Dylan / January 23, 2013 at 02:09 pm
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As if this is anything new. When was the last time an independent cafe was open on church st? Lettieri turned into Hero Burger, Second Cup Moved in and our other options were Starbucks and Timothy's. Two of the most popular pubs on the street are O'Grady's and Firkin (at least local-ish chains?). All I'm saying is that this isn't a new trend, and I also don't think it's any one (or few) business's fault. I don't think it *should* be that way, but it is.
J / January 23, 2013 at 02:11 pm
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You should change 'killing' to 'reviving', then the article would be great.
AV replying to a comment from kat / January 23, 2013 at 02:16 pm
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Lived in Toronto long? Its in reference to Starbucks showing up on Queen street. Google... its your friend

http://accozzaglia.ca/2011/02/10/a-meme-comes-full-circle/
Andrew / January 23, 2013 at 02:22 pm
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The village isn't dying because of big-box chains. The village is "dying" because the LGBT community isn't obligated to support most of Church Street's mediocre businesses anymore. There is no need for a "gay village" in the 21st century. You can be open with your sexuality anywhere in Toronto. The LGBT community will shop and eat wherever they want to around the city. People want to go to the best retailers, not some of the mediocre businesses on Church Street.

The "best retailers" aren't in the village. It's easy for the small businesses to point the finger at the big name chains. Loblaws came in and took the majority of shoppers because really, Loblaws is a far superior grocery store than Reither's or Pusateri's. Now that the village havs larger competition, they are blaming it on big box chains rather than themselves. Most of these small businesses didn't innovate to the modern shoppers needs. Church Street businesses will keep closing if these retailers don't step up their game.
Y / January 23, 2013 at 02:23 pm
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"Loblaws, you ho, this is all your fault."

Really BlogTO?
John Girouard replying to a comment from Al / January 23, 2013 at 02:30 pm
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For a while the strip had been stagnant,like it or not Loblaw's has upped the game,to the benefit of the 'hood.I mean SuperFresh Mart??That was so sad and filthy,and no customer service AT ALL!! They are currently doing a reno,who knows what that will bring.We still continue to shop and support our favorite green grocer on the strip Pusaterie's,where you are more likely to find local products than down the street,and the service is exceptional.As far as Davids Tea.Great looking store, great service,great product.What's to hate! Now about the sad state of the building housing PizzaPizza at the venerable corner of Church and Wellesley!!This is the gateway to the hood?You cannot blame Loblaw's for the greedy landlords on the strip doing nothing to better the area and letting their properties disintegrate. Rents are insanely high but,is this not the story all around the city?This is a wake up call to all merchants!
TOBlogTrash / January 23, 2013 at 02:41 pm
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Another "winning zinger" from Robyn with the "ho" reference; Remember: She's edgy.....
Notahipster / January 23, 2013 at 02:42 pm
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wow horrible article.
stripand / January 23, 2013 at 02:43 pm
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YES! This is a good thing. I would like to see a Whole Foods Market be put up in Kensington Market next.
marc / January 23, 2013 at 02:52 pm
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Reither's Fine Foods closed due to the business owner retiring. Not sure what that has to do with Loblaw's or David's Tea.
Ryan Henson Creighton / January 23, 2013 at 02:59 pm
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You can't cram the Bay Corridor and other neighbourhoods with thousands of new condo-owning residents and expect little independent mom & pop stores to carry that weight. Big-ass population influx means big-ass infrastructure needs; the neighbourhood is better off for it.
The Race is ON / January 23, 2013 at 02:59 pm
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"Loblaws, you ho, this is all your fault."

Excellent entry into the Top 10 Most Stupid Things BlogTO published in 2013
Ke-an-tai / January 23, 2013 at 03:08 pm
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Kyle Rae killed Church street. His moratorium on new bars and club developments forced gays to go elsewhere. All for a bunch of cruddy condos.
xoxoxx replying to a comment from kat / January 23, 2013 at 03:12 pm
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Go back to Burlington.
Ryan Henson Creighton / January 23, 2013 at 03:15 pm
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Ke-an-tai - exactly what is it about gay people that prevents them from living in "cruddy condos"? Plenty of gay people live in my condo quite happily.
Scott / January 23, 2013 at 03:17 pm
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The "ho" thing is a reference to graffiti that appeared on a Starbucks on Queen West.

Glad to see the transplants have learned the distinctly Toronto phenomena of showing outrage at things they don't understand.
johnsonstarfish / January 23, 2013 at 03:21 pm
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Big box stores and shiny new condos have been ruining this city and small business for years now. However, grocery shopping at small mom and pop shops is impossible and expensive so I think a Loblaws is totally welcome in any area that needs a proper grocery store. Davids Tea on the other hand can eat a d&*(.
Slamacow / January 23, 2013 at 03:22 pm
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You call that an article? Peoples comments are more thought provoking than the article but I will do my best... The dark days of the rainbow secret police forcing their rainbow flags are gone and I am glad they are. Its a sign that gay people are not relegated to their gay ghetto anymore. They are just people like you and me that can live wherever they want. Ignoring that issue, fighting change to maintain an old structure with no better reason than just because is moronic.
CaligulaJones replying to a comment from AV / January 23, 2013 at 03:22 pm
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Sorry, but googling memes is a little too-meta for most of us who have lives.
shane / January 23, 2013 at 03:30 pm
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Hey Robyn,
Keep up the good work. Ignore the bullies in this forum. Loblaw type places and shoppers drug marts destroy neighbourhood character, undoubtly. I have seen it happen, and live in the midst of it. The Ossington queen corner is a prime example. ZERO Character. Unless you are a builder, where all of this kind of crap gives you a throbbing errection. Galen Weston Jr., my peer, you will be held to account for crushing the mom and pop type places in urban centres in time, you will be one of the fathers of "bland". Loblaws type places are best left to the sub-burbs, as are the Shoppers drug marts, which it seems, have a plan to have one shoppers drug mart on every block and sell everything under the sun, ensuring that all the local places don't stand a chance. The blandness of the future can be seen along queen street now, west of ossington, and that strip where the loblaws is on queen on the south side round bathurst, or have a peek at much of king street, that, replicated 1000's of times, is every builders/chain store dream. Is this how we want toronto to look? Like square one in mississauga? Or some strip mall? Man, our city sucks. Look at the shitty construction of the Lolaws on queen...the cheapeset materials, sloppy brick work, a total eye sore. If Loblaws wants to lay its fat ass right in the middle of queen street, then we are going to have to demand that these guys build the exterior of the store within the existing character of the surrounding buildings. This was not done at all for the one on queen and bathurst or any other one as far as I know. Galen, you can do better, so do better. 'scuse the spelling and gramamer
Joey replying to a comment from always / January 23, 2013 at 03:31 pm
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"Well gentrification is what happens to communities... So now the gay community should feel more a part of Toronto than ever before."

That's really ignorant. Not only do you not understand what gentrification is, you obviously don't undertand the significance of the Church/Wellesley community to LGBTQ people.
manyouarealilbitch replying to a comment from shane / January 23, 2013 at 03:35 pm
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Haha, that was adorable.

Sal Morejo / January 23, 2013 at 03:36 pm
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Church Street has been on the wane for a decade. The failure of property owners to maintain their facades in a clean and appealing way has been mirrored by the tawdry retail, and the relentless marginal eateries on the strip. There is no destination dining, no destination shopping on the street. The Street only appears to revive very late on weekend nights when what sounds like gaggles of pubescent girls scream up and down the street. I guess they are pissed that they didn't get picked up. Loblaw's has been a welcome addition to the street. Maybe with the centre of gravity of the neighbourhood shifting to Carlton and Church we can now focus on Church and Wellesley by tearing down the drab miserable buildings that constitute the Village. The true strength of the neighbourhood has been the incredible dense highrise home owners and renters who have sustained the businesses. Back when it was the gay ghetto we were dependent on this strip of stores, but as it became a gay village in the 90's our expectations grew and changed and most bars, restaurants and retail failed to adapt. I love Pusateri's, Cumbraes, Letitia and Vince, the Cheese Shop and...and...THAT'S IT. Thanks to Loblaws and Ryerson for believing in the neighbourhood and for helping to save the building with great uses. Its now up to the owners of the rest of the street's businesses to pull their fingers out and work to INVEST in a more beautiful and more relevant commercial street for those of us who love the 'hood.
As for the article to which I am responding. When are going to stop having to listen to personal whining dressed up as journa...sorry it was just blogging. nuff said.
AV replying to a comment from CaligulaJones / January 23, 2013 at 03:39 pm
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I didn't know searching Google for things you don't understand was considered "too-meta". Noted, cool guy.
shane replying to a comment from Dad / January 23, 2013 at 03:54 pm
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Those who employ personal attacks are bullies. Those who don't, aren't. It's as simple as that.

Your conclusion that i feel that "everyone who has an opinion is a bully" is entirely baseless.

cathy replying to a comment from AV / January 23, 2013 at 04:39 pm
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You seriously expect people to Google random sentences they don't like before commenting on it? Should we all Google "Noted, cool guy" on the off chance that that is a meme?

I really don't care about the ho line, but treating people like they're dumb and uninformed because they don't know every random reference out there is hardly fair. You could have mentioned what it was in reference to without being elitist and snotty about it.

That said, it's just as sad that so many people are getting bent out of shape over that one line.
bobby / January 23, 2013 at 04:42 pm
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The village is dying because young members from the LGBT community don't want to be segregated to one area, you ever seen anyone younger than 50 around there lately? It's a retirement area basically, in 20 years there will be no more rainbow flags on church. It's all about being together and blending in now, it's 2013 for f**k's sakes.
Paul / January 23, 2013 at 04:56 pm
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If the businesses in the Village did a better job at responding to what people want and need, they'd do better. The Xtra article bases its thesis on Flatiron's closing down. Who needs or wants most of the kitschy crap they sell? The restaurants in the Village suck, and the bars don't make much of an effort, figuring they've got a captive audience.

I do think that the overcharging by Village landlords is disgusting. There should be some controls on business rent increases to protect communities from the predatory greed that ultimately drives this gentrification & homogenization.
Robert / January 23, 2013 at 04:56 pm
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How does an influx of 1000's of new residents and more stores even come close to ruining the city? Where do you want to live? Lots of space in Thunder Bay.
Church street has been home to chain stores for decades, most of them are indifferent to their customer. The restaurants are over priced mediocre food.
If the rents are so high why are there 2nd floor business on the first floor How do low volume retailers make it?
Where has the BIA been? Filling the already crowded sidewalks with stuff and removing places to gather keep people away not attract them.
There is also the rampant nimbyism that permeates the whole area.
j-rock / January 23, 2013 at 04:58 pm
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To repeat what some people have already said, the "decline" of the village, while understandably upsetting for some of the longtime residents, can really be seen as a positive development. While it will always hold symbolic value, I like the fact that we live in a city where members of the LGBT community can live, work and play anywhere they want, and don't have to stick to a specific neighbourhood in order to feel safe and/or welcome.
Alex / January 23, 2013 at 05:05 pm
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Do not blame Davids Tea for this. Up until it came to the neighbourhood, it was a trek out to queen or bloor west. If anything, it's bringing more people to the area. I go to Davids on Church now and while I'm there, I may grab a drink at a bar. I didn't go to the Village too often before. Now I spend much time there and I'm thrilled. I can get errands done and have some fun :)
johnsonstarfish replying to a comment from Alex / January 23, 2013 at 05:09 pm
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lol... David's Tea is bringing people to the neighbourhood... lol... sure.
MC replying to a comment from kat / January 23, 2013 at 05:40 pm
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This comment made me LOL physically. Love this answer.
avas / January 23, 2013 at 05:41 pm
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the new loblaws brought to to church st. with out it i would never visit the neighborhood since i have no need to visit a bath house or s strip club
Rachel / January 23, 2013 at 05:43 pm
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Pretty sure Richard Florida would deem this a success.
Reality / January 23, 2013 at 06:18 pm
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A business shouldn't be around "just because". Small businesses thrive in this day and age by providing things that larger stores can't (e.g. a small grocer might provide foodstuffs that are just impossible to find in a supermarket --- I can't find dried sage or manuka honey in any Loblaws I've been to). Small businesses can also thrive by providing personalized, friendly service. Getting to know your customers' names really helps. I'm not saying that the businesses that have closed don't provide unique products or friendly service. But I'm not willing to blame big business for the downfall of everything.

Anyway, this "article" is pretty terrible.
Michael / January 23, 2013 at 06:31 pm
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There are a lot of factors at play here as to why Church Street is drying up. I suggest taking a look at Vancouver's gay village, which is pretty much on the verge of disappearing.

Partly, it's gentrification. Partly, it's the cost of living in a liberal and tolerant society. But in a big part, I suspect it's that the community "keyholders" in the Village are not interested in changing the way that they've been operating, because they've done so good so far, right?

Gay villages all over North America are starting to disappear. And that's sad - not because all queers live there (indeed, queers have lived everywhere, since the dawn of time) but because it's a place for a community of people holding a particular identity to congregate. Imagine the experience of Chinese Canadians without having a Chinatown, and you'll get what I mean.

So yeah - David's and Loblaws are not the *cause* of the decline of the Village - rather, they are a *symptom* of deeper urban concerns. Unless the leadership of the Village makes a change of direction, the decline is likely to continue.
Alex replying to a comment from johnsonstarfish / January 23, 2013 at 06:58 pm
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Ok, excuse me. Maybe that was too broad a statement. I don't have to go all the way to Queen and Spadina to fill my tea tins now. I can walk 10 minutes to Church st and get 'er done there instead. Davids Tea is now bringing me and my fiance to the village more often and we spend more time and more $ there at local establishments because of it. Does that suit you better now?
Justin Y / January 23, 2013 at 06:59 pm
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Loblaws is the best thing to happen to Church Street in years! As much as I want to love it, Church is a dreadful morass of junky stores, crap restaurants and tacky bars. It could definitely stand to move up a notch and get some quality retail in place. Surely our community can sustain better. A combination of high and low is what makes a city neighbourhood great!
Alex / January 23, 2013 at 07:07 pm
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Maybe too it's drying up due to the Heterophobia practiced among the "Gay Community" making non-queers feel unwelcome.
JL replying to a comment from Joey / January 23, 2013 at 07:13 pm
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You mean the GLBT people with money! The overwhelming majority of the gay community (who aren't in couples, who are working hourly/lower-middle class jobs, renting someplace affordable) will never be able to afford the kind of housing offered near the village, and at some point you're not interested in having five roommates to split the rent with. The gay community largely will go into a part of the city, 'beautify and gentrify' it, and then jack up the rents so high that the existing owners/renters are driven out and the only people able to afford it are the rich gays and their friends. The rest of us are trying to figure out what to cut out this month in order to afford rent and other expenses...renting a bachelor suite for $1100 a month will ensure I won't need Winners, Loblaw's, Marshalls or any other store because I'd be using the food shelf!

This is the heart of what splits the gay community: those who buy into this illusion that we are all rich, super educated, able to afford these ridiculous condos/apartments, and wear top of the line clothes. That is not the reality, but the reality doesn't sell gay magazines or other services the gay community hawks to make us feel bad about ourselves.
stopitman / January 23, 2013 at 07:16 pm
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Uh, there are actually people on Church St now? Don't see how that's worse for the neighbourhood. The gay village was already pushed eastward from Yonge once into a bad neighbourhood that they then gentrified themselves. Gentrification is only bad if NIMBYism becomes a big issue (see the Beaches or Greenwich Village) and/or when it becomes self-destructive. I haven't seen either yet in the area, so for now I'd say we're doing okay.
danny / January 23, 2013 at 07:41 pm
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poorly written article. that loblaws is a huge asset to the neighbourhood, and they saved an historic toronto building from what surely would have been demolished to build more condos. and a davids tea is a welcome addition to any neibourhood!
Steve / January 23, 2013 at 07:47 pm
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Just back from having a coffee with some buddies at a Church Street coffee shop. The topic of Church St came up and the inevitable remark about the costly rents came up. I asked the fellows to look out the window and tell me if any of theses shops look like they could be in Yorkville. Yes it was mentioned the rents on Church St and Yorkville were in the same ball park.
The rents in Yorkville are around $300 a sq foot. That would put Woody's paying $1.5 million a month, Timothy's $300,000 Lets be realistic it was said the Rent for Zelda's was $35K that would put the monthly rent at more like $12 a square foot and this place would be at a premium.
Xtra has been flogging the myth for a long time, they have never offered facts to back it up. Personally I would not have bothered reporting on something Xtra reported.
iSkyscraper / January 23, 2013 at 08:09 pm
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It has nothing to do with the chains. New York is the same way. Like the segregated groups before them, assimilation has occurred and there is no longer a need or market for a single concentrated gay community any more than there is for a single concentrated Jewish or Polish or Irish ghetto.
Devon replying to a comment from johnsonstarfish / January 23, 2013 at 08:22 pm
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David's Tea IS actually bringing people to the village. Many Ryerson students have been going during their class breaks. You also see plenty of straight people in there too.
StoreOwner / January 23, 2013 at 08:51 pm
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This area has always been a colorful representation of one of the most important founders of Toronto's population. There is no one to blame for what business exists there but ourselves. We spend our money there and keep these business alive.

Lets step back one moment so that I can ask an important question from a different perspective. What business do you want to see there? Restaurant? What kind? Clothing store? What brand? As a consumer where do you want to spend your money? I am thinking of opening a restaurant there and would love to hear what the public wants.
Devon replying to a comment from StoreOwner / January 23, 2013 at 09:05 pm
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Honestly, a restaurant with nice decor and great food/drinks. I'm sure many members of the LGBT community would support a restaurant in the village, it's just the fact the current ones aren't very good.
Bob / January 23, 2013 at 09:30 pm
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I could've eaten Alphabits and crapped out a better article.
relax people / January 23, 2013 at 09:34 pm
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I thought "Loblaws, you ho, this is all your fault" was funny. You're funny Robyn, screw these lamo's.
Kay / January 23, 2013 at 09:44 pm
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Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't companies like David's Tea actually originate in Toronto? It's not like the street is being inundated with Burger Kings and McDonalds. Most of these "big bad" companies are Canadian, and as a resident of the Village, I am happy to have some of these nice mid-sized Canadian businesses available within walking distance. This is hardly gentrification involving large, soulless chains. Also, Church and Carlton was a drab and dirty street corner for years until Loblaws came in. Now there is a lively and a growing community space instead. I'll take that over an empty, rotting building or a new, cold condo any day.
homedepotNOThomodepot / January 23, 2013 at 10:26 pm
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damn a lot of h0m0s in here.
Alex / January 23, 2013 at 10:48 pm
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No, no, they're not "Homos", they're Heterophobic.
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from Kay / January 24, 2013 at 08:29 am
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I'm sorry, Kay, but a chain is a chain is a chain is a chain, no matter what country it comes from. Just because the head office and founders of said chain are located in Toronto instead of New York doesn't make it any better than if it wasn't Canadian owned and originated. It's still a chain, selling the same stuff as other chains, and it makes an area boring and bland, especially when you can hop on the subway and buy the same thing at a shopping mall or plaza.

What the Church Street BIA needs to do is be like the Kensington Market BIA and stand together as one entity to say 'NO!' to the further encroachment of chains in the area. Besides, Loblaws is too expensive anyway; the prices at No Frills are a lot better, and you're better off buying fruit and veggies at a farmer's market than a a big grocery store, to boot.
James Axe Iron Monger / January 24, 2013 at 09:45 am
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Steamworks is still there so it is all good. We will survive ;-)

Jokes apart though, I think the village is doing very well right now. Chains or not, these business (much like the condos) are bringing new life to an area which was slowly becoming degraded again. Loblaws was the best thing to ever happen to a Church Street where the so-called 'neighborhood business' lack the vision, will and balls to innovate and go that extra mile to impress and/or satisfy customers. COMPETITION IS GREAT.
CaligulaJones replying to a comment from AV / January 24, 2013 at 10:17 am
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Nobody said we didn't understand it. We said that it was poor writing (which it is) to which the answer is, to you, google it and you'll see that it CAN'T be poor writing because its a MEME.
JOhn / January 24, 2013 at 10:24 am
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Why all the fuss? Canadians LOOOOOOVE branded crap. Its not as if small, private businesses ever flourish in Canada anyway, Canadians are psychotically afraid of anything that doesn't have a logo.

Congratulations Canada, your obsession for a corporate logo is the reason for your own demise.
avas / January 24, 2013 at 11:08 am
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why are people acting like these so called giant corporate store didn't start out as small private businesses? only in Canada can you be hated for being successful
Mikey / January 24, 2013 at 11:23 am
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WE HAVE ON OUR HANDS HERE ONE OF THE TOP 10 MOST-COMMENTED POSTS OF 2013!!

GOOD JOB BLOGTO!!

GETTING THE BALL ROLLING EARLY!
Mikey replying to a comment from avas / January 24, 2013 at 11:38 am
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In France, once individuals (either physical human individuals or corporate legal individuals) become "successful" they are basically treated like enemies of the state: soon to be subject to cripplingly progressive income tax rates and bankrupting legal responsibilities to megalomanial unions.

In China, the top 400 wealthiest individuals list is nicknamed the "Black List" or the "Death List".

Even in the United States, successful individuals (even doctors and medical professionals, which make up about 25-30% of the 1% of earners) were demonized throughout 2012.

Canada is a comparatively nice place to "be successful!"
CaligulaJones replying to a comment from Ron / January 24, 2013 at 12:30 pm
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Thanks Ron, I knew this sounded familiar. Just like Greektown, Chinatown, Little Italy, etc., "identity" nabes go through stages, and this is just the latest one.

Confusing causation with correlation, in other words.

The good news is, this just means the fabulousness is being spread around. How is that a bad thing?
john / January 24, 2013 at 01:32 pm
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Most gay people - like most straight people - are mainstream. Gay acceptance into broad society is now common (at least in Toronto). Ergo it should be no surprise that gay neighbourhoods increasingly feature mainstream commercial options.
Sophia / January 24, 2013 at 01:40 pm
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What's the saying - you vote with your dollar? There are enough people supporting these big chains so perhaps those opposed are a small minority (or a minority that isn't willing to boycott certain conveniences).
Khristopher replying to a comment from Hamish Grant / January 24, 2013 at 03:20 pm
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You're onto something here. Rainbow flags are just not something I think the younger gay community cares as much about either.
Alex replying to a comment from Khristopher / January 24, 2013 at 04:07 pm
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Maybe they've finally realised no one give a shit who they sleep with and are tired of having them throw their preference in everyone else's faces and acting like it makes them special.
Welshgrrl / January 24, 2013 at 04:45 pm
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LGBT =/= "preference" ...
Paulita / January 24, 2013 at 11:27 pm
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Who fifves a guck about loblaw and david's tea. if people can save or spare a few dollars a week then that determines what shops live in their neighborhood. Let's be honest, between Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and the insatiable lust of consumerism, we're all fated the same way, gay, straight or otherwise. frankly, it's all a predictable mess. an individual's desire to have far outweighs an individual's needs. that's the frailty of our society today. simple. live with it. read the posters, you're supposed to and if you don't, you eventually will! let them eat cake i say.
Pleeeeeeeeease / January 25, 2013 at 04:51 am
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An absolutely ridiculous article. Isn't it crazy how when a small business is built by its owners' hard work into a bigger business, it seems to turn from heroic to villainous somehow?

Chains are coaxed into existence by our demand for them. People want Loblaws and they want David's Tea, as is evidenced by many of the comments above.
stopitman replying to a comment from JOhn / January 25, 2013 at 08:17 am
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@JOhn - Loblaws is a great success story of a "small, private business[...]" flourishing in Canada to become a powerhouse and it all started in Toronto 100 years ago. Davids Tea is also another Toronto born (Queen W in 2008) and bred store that has started to become more of a brand as it has expanded its reach. You seem like the type of person to also complain about Tim Hortons (although TO hasn't had it for as long and still doesn't have the saturation like Hamilton/Burlington), but I'll leave that argument out for now.

It's pretty funny that the two stores mentioned in the article are the exact thing you want to see, but complain about having.
LOLO / January 25, 2013 at 03:01 pm
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The problem is that so many of the smaller retailers fail to compete.

But, anyone been to either of those spots before Loblaw's opened? Shitty sandwich counters, expensive goods and (in the case of Reithers, mostly) specialization in niche goods that don't have broad appeal. Honestly - in the case of Reithers - how can you expect to stay open when you're selling Pfeffernussen, schinckenbrot and Mozart's balls to a crowd that is (a) not German and (b) on perpetual diets? I know Pusateri's still has a loyal following.

I think David's Tea and Loblaws are helping the area diversify and bring a much needed facelift to an area that was starting to feel really, really tired.
Toronto Guy Ya Ho / January 26, 2013 at 12:34 pm
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This is one of those kinds of articles that people from elsewhere in Canada read and validates their hatred towards Torontonians.
Speechless replying to a comment from Toronto Guy Ya Ho / January 26, 2013 at 03:29 pm
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My thoughts exactly. I can't believe blogTO thought this was a worthy article to post. The writer could have actually spent some time interviewing some residents, some small business owners, some shoppers at the Loblaws or David's Tea, some staff or managers at the Loblaws or at David's Tea, and could have researched some figures on currents rents. Instead, the only research is a link to an Xtra article. That's it. And the post closes with Loblaws being called a "ho". Wow.

"And with neighbourhood gift shop Flatiron's set to close its doors in March, it looks like rising rents and encroaching chains might change the Village for good." How much are they rising by? What's the average rent at the moment (per unit of area)? What was it 5 years ago? Which other chains are "encroaching"? I'm sure more would like to set up shop, but which ones and when?
Me / January 26, 2013 at 05:04 pm
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I thought BlogTO LIKED David's Tea?
Aaron / January 27, 2013 at 04:52 pm
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Mega stores wipe out everything in their immediate vicinity. It's only logical that every nearby grocery, bakery, butcher etc. will close after a Borg Loblaws is inserted in a neighbourhood and no new ones will ever open.

The solution is to limit the square footage of new retail, encourage many 'urban size' neighbourhood stores over a few big box mega stores. But that would require some sort of planning in a city that is run by developers and their ilk The result is a built form that elevates developer profits above any other considerations.

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