Sunday, June 10, 2007

Garway R.I.P.

Garway grocery, across Broadway from Kingsgate mall, closed about a month ago. At their closing-out sale, they had things I had never tasted, so I bought a few things. Another customer gave me a recommendation to try dried bean curd strips; she said you have to soak them in water and then you can use them in stir fry. I also got Halo Halo, which is made out of beans and other things, all in sugar syrup - very good on ice cream.

When I first saw Garway a few years ago, they had vegetables and fruits for sale on wooden frames outside and around the parking lot, which made it very inviting. You could see what they were featuring without even having to stop and go inside. They stopped doing that after a while and said the city made them stop. Then there were only a few wooden frames in the front, and the rest inside.

Garway had reasonably priced coffee and vegetables in about half the store; and mostly imported products in cans, cellophane packages, boxes and a freezer in the rest of the store. The woman at the cash register was efficient and nice. That day, I asked if the rent was going up and that was why they were closing. She said yes.

Tax assessments have gone up in this neighbourhood. Tax increases affect people's ability to stay in their neighbourhood, and they can have a chain reaction effect on rents as well. If landlords are trying to maintain a percentage of profit instead of an absolute amount of income, then the rent will go up more than just the amount of the tax increase.

Since Garway closed, the city has announced it is shifting some of the "tax burden" for Vancouver away from business taxes and on to residential taxes. Too late for Garway. Of course taxes are only a fraction of what affects rents.

Does anybody know more about this story?

1 comment:

  1. The building where Garway was is still vacant. I ran into the owner showing it to some people. He said that he wanted to rent it for another grocery. According to him, the reason Garway left was that the owners of the store were quarreling with each other, not because the rent was raised. I didn't think he was telling the truth.