starbucks toronto

The Starbucks a Toronto neighbourhood tried to save is becoming a pizza place

A Toronto neighbourhood bemoaning the loss of a local Starbucks that had become something of a community hub may soon be soothed by sweet, sweet pizza. 

After all, who doesn't love pizza? And when it's build-your-own, you just can't argue with that. 

Area residents petitioned to save a Starbucks at St. Clair and Christie, noting its importance as a community hub, but it seems it's now turning into a Pi Co., a local chain that serves build-your-own pizzas made to order.

One of the owners of Pi Co., Marc Askenasi, actually has a house in the Hillcrest area himself, and his own mother has a daycare at St. Clair and Vaughan, so he says he and his immediate family are "heavily invested" in the area and "very excited" about the new location.

The funny thing is, those who petitioned to save the Starbucks likely didn't realize deals like this are often executed long before the public is aware of them, as was the case here according to Askenasi. Pi Co. works with real estate brokers, but actually gets many of their offers from landlords reaching out directly.

As someone who drank Frappuccinos at that Starbucks in high school, I can't say I'd have been mad about grabbing a slice instead, though the new Pi Co. location is joining a formidable neighbourhood for great pizza.

Askenasi feels there's already a lot of great food in the area, and sees an opportunity for more fast casual spots in the neighbourhoods where families can eat out without breaking the bank.

"It's never fun when you lose what people deem to be a staple," he says when it comes to how he feels about replacing the Starbucks.

Ultimately, Askenasi admits that Pi Co. is a totally different brand than Starbucks, serving more of the afternoon/evening than the morning/afternoon crowd, but wants to emphasize that Pi Co. is a Toronto brand that strives to do everything it can to support the city.

When the St. Clair and Christie location of Pi Co. opens around the end of this year or beginning of the next, it'll be somewhere between the 15th and 18th store for the chain. Others at Church and Bloor and in Ottawa should be opening in the interim, Pi Co. currently expanding across the country.

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