Historic produce shop at Toronto’s Kensington Market set to close

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Kensington Market loses historic produce shop
WATCH ABOVE: Oxford Fruit Market in Kensington market is leaving after close to 40 years. Local shops are worried about who moves in next. Tom Hayes reports – Feb 12, 2020

Colin Barrett enters the Oxford Fruit Market with his newborn son strapped to his chest.

He’s here to pick up a few potatoes in one of his favourite Kensington Market shops and said he prefers the local shop atmosphere to large grocery stores.

“There are fewer and fewer of these places around, and more and more chain retail,” said Barrett.

But his favourite store is about to close up. Oxford Fruit Market is leaving the corner of Augusta Avenue and Nassau Street after being in business close to 40 years.

The building is owned by the Amaro family, which is expanding its family business into a section of the space currently occupied by Oxford.

“Space is at a premium. Parking is at a premium. It’s becoming tougher and tougher for everyone to fit,” said Jason Amaro.

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READ MORE: Toronto’s Kensington Market featured in new Heritage Minute

With the Oxford Fruit Market leaving, the concern in the historic neighbourhood is what retailer will be moving into the corner shop.

“Well, we don’t need a McDonald’s, obviously,” said Cece Scriver, the owner of the vintage store Courage My Love, which was opened 45 years ago.

Scriver is also a member of the local business improvement area and said surviving in Kensington Market takes a unique business model.

“We have kept our prices so low that someone with $20 can have so much fun in here,” she said.

Scriver, along with other retailers and local shoppers, said they are worried about mom-and-pop shops remaining viable in Kensington Market. She said the battle is a tough one, but the answer is simple.

“You want the market to stay? Shop here,” said Scriver.

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