We are very excited to see the transformation of a venerable business in the Sunnyside/Seneca area, from what seems to have been a “corner store” forever…or at least since we arrived in the neighbourhood in 1995! The transformation began, when the new owners started clearing out junk in the back of the store. This is where the brothers Fares and Tamer discovered an old butchers block. They realized they were continuing an Old Ottawa South business which needed love.
The brothers have a background in a family retail business in Jordan. Faris arrived at Carleton in 2007 studying marketing, and his brother arrived at Carleton a few years later studying communications engineering.
They both appreciated the uniqueness of this part of Old Ottawa South and hoped to settle here and do something in the retail sector. When they saw that the store was available they both said, “this is it.” The store had both potential and a prime location. They started as owners on December 20, 2019 and have continually upgraded and expanded the products for sale and focused on customers needs.
Clearly it was a daunting challenge to start the transformation of the old-style corner store – a dying institution, into a full-on grocery store. They started immediately asking customers what they needed in the way of groceries and other products, and about pricing too.
Quickly there was a vast new array of products available. And if you were shopping there at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic you could readily buy many of the products which were not available, or in very short supply, elsewhere. Products such as: yeast, flour (including monster bags!), sugar and more, all to meet the needs of those of us who were budding home-made bread bakers.
Presently the space is undergoing major changes: tearing out the old drop ceiling to create a better feeling of space, opening up the rooms at the back to provide more shelf space, more modern shelving and replacing the floor. The old space is soon to be relinquished to history.
Coming soon is their number one addition, fresh produce. Then a deli/sandwich bar, Middle East foods (complete with their own brand of organic spices), and finally a butchery!
They will end off with a name change in honour of their father: Sam’s Corner.
Once they are fully up and running, they will advertise with flyers at Carleton – especially the residences – and then in the neighbourhood, and also monthly deals advertised in The OSCAR.
Presently, they offer delivery by Doordash and Uber and curbside pickup for phone-in needs.
COVID-19 has brought about a slow-down in business, especially with less students living off-campus near Carleton. Their vision is to provide a great local grocery store that will meet many of the grocery needs of the neighbourhood. So we can leave behind our cars this winter, stop going to a big grocery store for a few items, and just walk to the Groceteria!
We encourage the neighbourhood to buy local and support small businesses.
The Woodbine News Team is Chris George, Sarah Dowswell and Bob & Lauree Bangs.
Originally featured in the January 2021 OSCAR.