Posts Tagged ‘stongs’

Stong’s Market

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

A Grand Return to Dunbar.

It was a perfect spring day – the sun was shining, music was playing and it felt like a big Dunbar block party when Stong’s Market officially re-opened on May 13.

John Roden, Stong’s marketing manager reports, “It was great to see the fun and excitement as kids were high-fiving Spiderman and people were spinning the prize wheel. We couldn’t have asked for a better grand re-opening celebration.”

There was a noticeable absence in the neighbourhood last May when the grocery store closed due to redevelopment of the 4500 block of Dunbar Street. Remarkably, Stong’s was only gone for seven months while the new location at West 27th Avenue and Dunbar Street was being completed.

This is the fourth time Stong’s has relocated on Dunbar Street in 62 years.

Stongs Market Cori Bonina Dunbar LifeThe original 1955 location was situated where BMO now resides. In 1960 Stong’s moved to 4326 Dunbar (now home to Shoppers Drug Mart). In 1980 it moved south to its former location across from Dunbar Theatre. The new Stong’s is in almost the same location as the original 1955 store.

Stong’s president and owner Cori Bonina holds the honour of being the fourth generation owner of this family business. Her great grandfather Carson Stong opened the first Stong’s Market in the early 1890s in Toronto with his brother Joe. With the onset of the Depression in 1931, Carson moved to Vancouver and set up two of the first open-air markets in Vancouver. His son Ralph opened the first Vancouver Stong’s Market in 1955.

Ralph’s son-in law Bill Rossum (Cori’s father) took over as general manager in 1971. Cori joined forces with her father and became general manager in 1997; she took over as president in 2001. Her son Carson is carrying on the family legacy; he is the manager of Stong’s new Northwood location in North Vancouver.

2016 was a monumental year for Stong’s. The Northwood location opened in May and in December the Dunbar village store had a soft re-opening.

Frank Rainey, director of store operations, mentions that designing Stong’s from the ground up was a wonderful opportunity. He says, “We are proud to have evolved into a 21st century grocery store where customers can expect an elevated shopping experience.”

Stongs Market butcher Dunbar LifeThe attractive Dunbar village store has increased in size by 6,000 square feet and features modern elements such as concrete floors, exposed ceilings and a West Coast feel through the use of wood panelled walls, but at the same time the past is still very much present. Champion, the beloved coin-operated horse, awaits eager young riders. John says, “Parents bring their children to ride on the horse they rode as a child.” Historical photos are also nicely integrated to celebrate the store’s rich past. Another nod to the past is a free cookie at the bakery for little ones.

Specialized departments surround the periphery of the shop. If you are looking for magnificent floral arrangements head to Stems, located at the store’s entrance. Five floral designers are on staff to create wow factor custom bouquets.

The introduction of a stone oven pizza is proving to be a big hit, as is Edibles, the expanded deli where customers can choose from a large selection of take home prepared foods including many offerings from Stong’s own brand, Cori’s Kitchen. Frank mentions that Stong’s roasted chicken continues to be one of the favorites with their customers.

In a rush and need to grab a meal on the go? Head to the panini counter or pick up some freshly made sushi. If baked goods are on your shopping list the in house bakery is sure to please. As a side note, the tantalizing aromas circulating from the various departments can lead you on a hunt to track down what’s cooking.

Tip: There is plenty of spacious free underground parking on site.

A wide selection of products from major national brands to an extensive selection of unique, gourmet, natural and organic products can be found. Stong’s takes pride in supporting local suppliers of all sizes; work is well under way to expand the selection of local produce as they have been reaching out to a lot of local farmers.

Stong’s also supports many local small suppliers looking to develop their product; it was the first store to offer Lesley Stowe Raincoast Crisp crackers, which are now sold throughout North America.

“Stong’s staff are passionate about their departments. They love what they do.” Frank Rainey

As anyone who shops at Stong’s knows, it is a community hub where you run into friends and neighbours in the aisles. With the introduction of Replenish café, customers can catch up over an impromptu coffee and light snack. On warm days roll up garage doors open with additional seating outdoors.

Stongs Market Cori Pizza Dunbar LifeNo time to go grocery shopping or perhaps you can’t make it out of your house? No worries, Stong’s Express is an online shopping service which offers next day delivery to most of the Lower Mainland with dedicated personal shoppers and trucks on the road seven days a week.

John aptly points out, “Stong’s is the heart of the community. There is an emotional connection to this store.” Without a doubt, Stong’s short-term closure reinforced Dunbar residents’ vested interest in their market. They love to shop locally and support independent businesses, and are extremely happy to have their favourite grocery store back.

Stong’s Market
4221 Dunbar Street
Vancouver, BC V6S 2G1
Telephone 604-266-1401

Dunbar and 27th Redevelopment

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Dunbar Life redevelopmentThe 4200 block of Dunbar, know as central Dunbar or Dunbar Heights is undergoing change. The existing block currently occupied by some of our favourite single-storey retail stores is being redeveloped with a four-storey, mixed-use building containing a grocery store and retail uses on the ground floor and a total of 46 dwelling units (ground to fourth floors), all over three levels of underground parking providing a total of 165 parking spaces having vehicular access from the lane.

This proposal does not include the Royal Bank on the corner of Dunbar and 26th. The retail space will be the location of the new and expanded Stong’s Market and Dunbar Insurance. Stong’s will stay in its current location at 4560 Dunbar Street until February 28, 2016.

While this new development is exciting, we want to acknowledge and thank the stores that have left an important legacy in the community as some relocate in Dunbar, some move out of the community and some close forever.

Small businesses are the backbone of our community. We hear so many Dunbar residents say this is the reason they love this neighbourhood. They know their local merchants and can get anything they want here, including personal and attentive service. To all of the merchants over the years who chose to contribute to making Dunbar one of the best places in Vancouver to live, we sincerely thank you all.

4205 – RBC Royal Bank SINCE: 1993
STATUS: Open, not moving
NOTES: Mark Johnston, Branch Manager confirms that RBC has been serving Dunbar since 1929 (86 years) and will continue to serve Dunbar through the development as they are not moving.
4219 & 4235- Dunbar Cycles SINCE: 1927
STATUS: Closed and moved to 195 West Broadway

4229 – More Bikes SINCE: 2014
STATUS: Looking for new location in Dunbar
PAST TENANTS: Peekaboo Baby Boutique, Newcastle Locks & Letters
NOTES: Lucy and Don Chang set up their second location here last year. They would like to thank Dunbar for welcoming and supporting their family bike shop into the neighbourhood. Please continue to support them at their UBC location at 3332 Shrum Lane. Their family has lived in Dunbar for over 25 years and will continue to support the cycling community.

4231- Beantown Coffee House SINCE: 1998
STATUS: Looking for new location in Dunbar
NOTES: Watch for the grand re-opening in late spring!

4243 – Splash Toy Shop SINCE: 2000
STATUS: Closing February 22
NOTES: Beth McKercher brought much joy to families for 15 years and always gave back to the community. She will miss the wonderful business neighbours and customers that they had over the years.

4255 – Hospice Opportunity Boutique SINCE: 2012
STATUS: Moving to 2236 West 41st Avenue in Kerrisdale
PAST TENANTS: Jools, Thompson Sales & Service
NOTES: The Vancouver Hospice Society is dedicated to supporting people on their final journey by establishing hospices, respite care, day programs and bereavement services in our community. The thrift store is a way to support programs and services. Their other shop Hob Too is located at 3470 Dunbar St.

4263 – Skinetics Skincare and Spa SINCE: 1983
STATUS: Moved to 4166 Main Street
NOTES: Diane Buchmuelle was hoping to make it to 35 years so she could retire. After 31 years she was sad to have to leave the neighbourhood. She enjoyed her 31 years on Dunbar and thanks everyone for their support.

4265 – Brick Oven Pizza SINCE: 2000
STATUS: Closed

4273 – Chloe Angus Design SINCE: 2010
STATUS: Moved to 45 East 6th Avenue #100 PAST TENANTS: A Touch of Wool

4275 – Carson Books SINCE: 2001
STATUS: Moved to 4340 Main St
PAST TENANTS: Champlain Design
NOTES: Tim Carson felt part of the community and had regular and loyal customers that he will really miss. Some have followed him to his new store at 4340 Main St.

4293 – 4Cats Arts Studio SINCE: 1999
STATUS: Moved to 3354 Dunbar St
NOTES: Scott and Mel Baker are grateful to find their glorious new studio. They invite you to stop by and see it.

4295 – Dunbar Insurance SINCE: 1990
STATUS: Moved to 4446 Dunbar St – located beside ‘The Shop’
PAST TENANTS: MacGregor’s Dry Goods
NOTES: Danny Buntain and staff are excited about the new development coming to the Dunbar community over the next year and half. They invite you to come enjoy a coffee on them at their temporary location while our new office is being built! The Buntain family have been offering insurance services to the Dunbar community through Dunbar Insurance Agency Ltd. since the early 1990s. They look forward to continue being a part of this great community.

4560 – Stong’s SINCE 1931
STATUS: Staying in current location until February 28, 2016
NOTES: Stong’s Markets Ltd. – Dunbar’s home-grown grocer since 1931 – is pleased to announce the company has secured its tenure at its current location (4560 Dunbar Street). They will move to the new and expanded space at 4200 Dunbar when the project is complete in 2016.

Stong’s Theatre of Life

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

We all know Stong’s is a great grocery store.  Oh sure it can be crowded, and they don’t carry huge packaging and you will be sure to run into someone you know on the worst of Bad Hair Days but still, where else will you be asked if you are finding everything you are looking for? The first time I was asked that question I almost needed to look for a defibrillator.

We all know where to find our specialty items, where to look in the deli for “something good” and where to get masking tape and a decent greeting card in a pinch. But are we all aware of the fact there is also great theatre to be had at our local Stong’s?  The theatre of life plays itself out daily for our observance if we only look closely enough. Tragedy, comedy and even love are on stage from 7 a.m. to midnight seven days a week and you don’t need tickets.

Anyone who doubts that there’s theatre at Stong’s obviously has never been to the store in the two days prior to Christmas. In less time than it will take to find a turkey, you will witness betrayal in the parking lot, chariot sparring in the produce aisle and drama in the checkout queues. It would be a great place to go if one didn’t actually need to get groceries. But even outside the holiday seasons there are various forms of theatre readily available.

The basic Mystery that regularly plays at Stong’s is one in which you are greeted warmly and personally by someone you absolutely do not recognize. During the shaking of hands and exchange of niceties you scan the foggy recesses of all memory, wondering if perhaps you used to date this person, or whether he is a parent at your kid’s preschool, or maybe he was your brother’s roommate or is possibly your bank manager. Usually one plays a part in these mysteries relatively unscathed.

Occasionally though, this basic mystery can intensify to deceit and intrigue of Shakespearean proportions. A friend of mine, caught off guard by a glowing and assertive greeting she received at Stong’s, made the scene-stealing horrible mistake of inadvertedly agreeing to be someone she is not. The plot thickened rapidly into a tangled web of lies as, while moving through the checkout line-up, she helplessly provided commentary on a job she’s never had, properties she’s never possessed, children not her own and even awards she’s never received. Fearing a climactic revelation of her charade if someone else were to come along and greet her loudly by name, specifically not the name of the person she was playing the part of, my friend was completely panicked by the time she paid for her purchases. She fled the stage, a tragic figure, as quickly as one can with $300 worth of groceries in tow, and indeed may never return to Stong’s again, for fear of having to carry out Act II of this play should this same stranger appear.

The Comedies that take place at Stong’s fall more in the realm of slapstick, often centering around the unnoticed trading of grocery carts, or elderly folks arguing about onions, or toddlers taking hold of the wrong pant legs, or the animated cell phone talker without a visible microphone who appears to be delivering a passionate soliloquy in the cereal aisle. Comedy is not the highest art form at a grocery store, although perhaps the employees have a different view of this, calling to mind such times as 5:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving day when an enthusiastic young cook runs out of the store clutching a frozen solid 25 pound turkey which he plans to serve for dinner that evening with his friends.

If you are lucky, you might even catch the theatre of Love, generous and kind, and Loss, aching and sad, on stage at Stong’s. One of the most touching scenes I ever witnessed took place in the bean section where two women stood talking. While selecting my chili supplies I overheard one woman say the words “mother”, “palliative” and “comfortable” while the other stood listening intently. Partway down the aisle I realized I’d forgotten something and turned back just as the woman talking began sobbing as though her heart would break. Her friend moved their carts aside, pulled the woman into her arms and held her tight as she cried. They remained standing there a long time like that, two characters, one sobbing and one hugging, while the freezer man with the big gloves stocked ice-cream beside them and parents with young children wandered by. Rarely does a stage play have a scene as honest and moving as that one.

This parade of people going about their daily existence, this microcosm of our daily life, is the real deal to be had at Stong’s. Stop by for a carton of milk and some drama.