The long anticipated Federal Store is finally open on the corner of Quebec St. and 10th Ave. in Mt. Pleasant (one block southwest of Main & Broadway). They held a soft launch over the weekend for friends and family and officially served their first customers yesterday. Here’s the basic information we gleaned when we first reported on its construction fourteen months ago:
You know that old convenience store that used to sell candy and smokes on the southwest corner of Quebec & 10th? Well, it closed this past March after 17 years, leaving behind its old, Coke-style “Federal Store” signage hanging over the entrance. On the same day as the owners were moving out, Colette Griffiths and Christopher Allen just happened to be walking by on their way to their Mount Pleasant home.
The two restaurant industry veterans (both took turns managing Six Acres in Gastown) immediately got to talking about what they would do with the space if it was theirs. They returned later that same day to find out what was going to happen to the space. Upon learning that it was available, and after some life-changing back and forth, they decided to pounce, taking the keys almost immediately.
They got their permits in August and have been busily getting The Federal Store ready for its next iteration: a four seat cafe and grocery. There’s not a lot that can fit into the 650 sqft space, so there will be a lot of picking and choosing in the coming months as they load up on stock. There will be candies, dry goods, a prepared food component (they’re testing vendors and bakers now), as well as a coffee program with beans from Bows & Arrows.
The finished space has more seating than they had originally envisioned, which is a cool surprise; it feels nice and cozy, just like a neighbourhood cafe/grocery should (the closest local comparison I can think of is Le Marche St. George). They’ve got their baking sorted out, and it looks really delicious. It’s being done in house by Cole Friske, who Colette and Christopher met when they were all working together at Six Acres (I snuck a shot of the short menu into the gallery below). Hours are starting out at 8am to 6pm, seven days a week, but they might be expanding them if the neighbourhood wills it.
What took them so long? “Waiting for permits was one thing, but we did everything ourselves, and that took a lot of learning,” Colette explained. Top marks then. The place looks wonderful and was already doing brisk business when I poked my head in yesterday. Like Le Marche St. George, it feels removed enough from the bustle of Main Street to provide a cloistered sense of remoteness, but not too far as to be tricky to access — a needle well-threaded indeed. To get an idea of the monumental task they set out for themselves, browse the images below…