Possibility of Kensington Market Starbucks draws local anger
Web Staff, cp24.com
Published Wednesday, October 1, 2008 5:11PM EDT
The possibility of a Starbucks Coffee opening in Kensington Market is drawing the anger of local businesses and residents.
Owners of the property at 234 Augusta Ave., on the corner of Nassau Street, are in talks with Starbucks, real estate agent Phil Pick told CP24.
The location was previously occupied by J & J Fruit Market, which closed in May after an inspection by the Medical Officer of Health.
Several local residents are strongly opposed to the opening of a Starbucks in the historic market known for its unique shops, cafes and fresh produce.
The wall outside the former fruit shop location has been plastered with signs voicing people's opposition to Starbucks.
One sign says, "Kensington Market does not welcome multi-national corporations", while another says, "We love our local cafes". Other signs posted are promoting petitions against the corporation.
Local caf� owner Wanda Beaver says the added competition is not the reason she opposes the opening.
"A lot of the places here have their own following and everyone here has a real loyalty to the shops here. If Starbucks came here, I would even venture to say they might get frozen out."
Beaver says the area has lot of historical significance, which would make it difficult for a Starbucks to survive.
"It was a Jewish market for years, they had live chickens here. It still has that flavour of everything being down to earth.
"Starbucks -- they don't really fit into that -- they can try, but it will not be a good fit."
Pick says locals are overreacting to the "preliminary" talks with Starbucks to rent the $5,000-per-month location.
He says he is also in talks with banks, doctors offices and other "national tenants" to rent the space.
The history of big chain vendors coming into the area shows residents seem to prefer independent local businesses.
Second Cup met with the ire of locals and closed within six months of opening due to low sales.
The Toronto couple that owns the location says they are pleased with the attention their property is getting.
Kensington is one of the city's oldest neighbourhoods, located southwest of College Street and Spadina Avenue.