Toronto locals upset favourite store is leaving the neighbourhood
A store that's been iconic on a Toronto strip for years now is moving locations, and neighbourhood residents aren't too happy about it.
VdeV, currently located on Ossington, is just moving to Dundas West, but there's still been an outcry about the change.
"Whaaaaa......My 'go to' for teacher gifts for many years. New location 797 Dundas Street West (near Bathurst)," reads the caption to a post made to local Facebook group Ossington Community Association showing this is the store's last month on Ossington.
"No," "So sad," "Boo," reads a string of comments, though some might be confused about whether the store is closing or just moving, as some people also commented asking whether it's shutting down permanently. "See you at the other location though," wrote one person.
Bellwoods Brewery next door is slated to take over the space VdeV currently occupies.
"We'll begin renovating 120 [Ossington] this July and are aiming for a late 2021 or early 2022 opening. We will be moving our kitchen to the back of the space, and will be expanding our seating into the front with a walk through to 124 [Ossington]," Bellwoods co-owner Luke Pestl told blogTO.
While Bellwoods will be taking over the space, VdeV owner Fanny Vergnolle de Villers says their reason for leaving is mostly because it's simply the end of their lease on Ossington.
"We love the Ossington community and weren't necessarily looking, but at the end of the lease we always look at options. We found a great space that's a lot bigger and bigger in terms of storage, and there's a lot to offer there for a furniture store so it was hard to pass on," Vergnolle de Villers told blogTO.
"We're still in the Trinity Bellwoods community, it felt like the right move."
She added: "Timing was not good since we've been closed since November and only had like two weeks to be open and then have to move out. It's bad timing in terms of PR."
Vergnolle de Villers says it's a "mixed feeling" when it comes to moving away from the Ossington strip, but that the new location is "just a short walk away" and is "going to connect with new clients, but close enough to keep a strong link with the regulars.
"We've been so happy there, we've connected with so many people. It has a small-town feel in a way, we know client's dogs." says Vergnolle de Villers.
"We're gonna miss that strip for sure. Summer is so great to be there and walk around, but there's a lot to look forward to on Dundas West near Bathurst. Every time I go there new stores are opening, it feels like there's a lot going on, a lot of plus sides in terms of public transit, easier to get there, have Bathurst right around the corner."
While rent has gone up on Ossington, Vergnolle de Villers says she doesn't feel forced out of the neighbourhood by the prices and mostly was looking for more space.
"The prices have increased, but we are a furniture store so need lots of square footage. It's hard to stay in those very prime locations. Between when we got there and now, the reality of the market is just not the same. The main factor that drove us was that it makes more sense to fish for larger space," says Vergnolle de Villers.
"I don't feel forced out, it's a choice. I could have chosen to have a higher rent and stay on the Ossington strip, but I do feel like because of the nature of business this is more logical."
VdeV's last day at the current location will be March 21, and they're aiming to open at the new location in early April. VdeV also has a Montreal location, and Vergnolle de Villers says she never dreamed she'd have such connection in Toronto.
"It will be weird not to be at that space anymore, but it is what it is. We have to look forward, and I'm so grateful about those five years we spent there. Now that we grew it's getting a little bit tight in that space," says Vergnolle de Villers.
When it comes to the Bellwoods expansion, she says "if it gets better for that strip and whole neighbourhood" as a result, she'll be happy.
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