Cardero Grocery closes its doors after more than 75 years in Vancouver’s West End

Click to play video: 'The end of an era: West End corner store closing its doors'
The end of an era: West End corner store closing its doors
After more than 75 years in Vancouver’s West End, a neighbourhood corner store is closing its doors – Nov 2, 2017

A West End Vancouver institution has closed its doors for good.

The Cardero Grocery corner store, located on Cardero Street between Comox and Pendrell Streets, had its last day of business on Wednesday after more than 75 years as a fixture of the community.

The building, which has been standing since the 1920s, was acquired by a new landlord who declined to renew the store’s lease.

Emma Ng, who acquired the store in 2003, posted this sign in the front door last week:

“Dear customers, due to lease ending, the store will be permanently closed from Nov. 1, 2017. Thank you for all the support in the past 14 years.”

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Ng says the tight-knit community is what she’ll miss the most.

“It’s a very close community,” she said. “Everyone in the neighbourhood…they come every day, and it’s like a family.”

Stores like Cardero Grocery hold a special place in older communities like the West End, due to their vintage look of antique soda signs and faded facades.

“People like that style of convenience store. They like to come here” instead of larger chain stores, Ng said.

Cardero Grocery in 1978.
Cardero Grocery in 1978. City of Vancouver Archives

According to city records, the building, one of two detached homes on a lot that was recently listed for sale for $3.8 million, has “significant heritage value,” but does not have official heritage status and is therefore not legally protected from demolition.

Listings for the lot, which say it has since been sold for above asking price, describe it as a site that has “potential” for future redevelopment.

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The closure adds to the West End’s grocery store woes. In August, the Safeway on Davie and Cardero closed to make room for a new development, but that store will reopen once that development is completed.

Ever since announcing, Ng said she has received an outpouring of support from the community, whose residents are sad to see their store shut down.

“It’s very touching,” she said. “Missing all my relationships with my neighbours. So yeah, I’m kind of upset.”

But Ng said her sadness pales compared to the gratitude she feels for her loyal customers.

“I appreciate them supporting the little corner store,” she said, “and I’m really happy working here.

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