Beloved Toronto convenience store abruptly closes after more than 25 years
The owners of a colourful, longstanding convenience store in Toronto's west end have shuttered their doors, removed all inventory, and placed a series of hand-written "WE ARE CLOSED" signs on the shop's glass windows.
Nobody seemed to know it was coming, or what will happen to the northwest corner of College and Dufferin Streets, but community members are decidedly bummed to lose Stardust Convenience.
Established in 1994, Stardust has served as an unmistakeable and oft-bustling landmark where Brockton Village meets Dufferin Grove.
The store at 740 Dufferin Street has borne several names throughout its existence, including Starbank Convenience, Star Bank and Polaris Convenience Store, but the same owner — a numbered company — is listed in all available business records since 2004.
Like many 24-hour hubs of its kind, the mid-sized convenience store was relied upon by many in the immediate area for last-minute grocery runs, lottery tickets, cigarettes, sour candies and a wide selection of Faygo flavours.
It was very much your prototypical old-school, independent Toronto variety store.
For years, the store was home to an on-site Country Style cafe, though this component was removed sometime in late 2018 or early 2019 — perhaps a harbinger of things to come.
Stardust was also licensed as a "Temporary Fireworks Vendor (under 25kg)" in 2008, 2010 and 2016 with the stipulation that fireworks could be sold only from May 21 to May 24, June 24 to July 1 and October 28 to November 4.
It passed its last DineSafe inspection in December of 2019, as well as the one before it in April of the same year.
Members of the community started lamenting the loss of Stardust Convenience in late November after noticing that the store wasn't opening as usual.
By December 4, all inventory had been removed from the shelves, coolers and displays inside the building, confirming the suspicions of locals who had assumed Stardust was closing.
There is no evidence, however, to confirm rumours about condos replacing the beloved convenience store (though let's be real; nobody could be faulted for thinking so in this climate.)
The City of Toronto's development application database shows no activity whatsoever for 740 Dufferin St. Furthermore, the store was actually put up for rent at $7,500 per month in early November.
Commercial rent listings have been removed from almost every major realtor's website, suggesting that the 2,400-square-foot property has either been rented out, or that the owner has pulled it for whatever reason.
"Do not miss this opportunity to be among the very few lucky businesses in the heart of Dufferin & College," reads an archived copy of the original listing.
"Main floor retail space, excellent location... space fronting on high traffic area. Great money maker. Use to be convenience variety (cigarette sale & OLG lottery)."
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