In downtown Toronto, I got the heads up about it from my accountant, awhile back. I dismissed it as being too expensive, but recently started thinking about it again. Maybe it was worth having a look at?
So have a look I did, and I'm so glad I did. (Thanks Eddy!)
First off, some history. The place was gutted and rebuilt from the ground up (literally - new foundation in basement and all) for Starbucks. Anyone remember awhile back their old CEO came back on board and pulled in the reins hard to slow their dropping stock price? He closed hundreds of stores in a week, and put the brakes on any in development. Well this one fell into that catagory. The landlord had done everything they asked, and they backed out without the grace to pay him for his troubles. He'll get his in court I'm sure.
Anyways back to my coming into this story. It's all windows, light and airy, and it's a clean slate. Fresh drywall, and pipes sticking out of the floor. They had a massive counter space planned, that I would shrink. They didn't have a wall oven planned, but I can fit it into the back room, right next to the double door fridge.
I'd lay white knotty pine, and not stain it, for the cafe floor. The bathrooms, backroom and behind the counter would be tiled. I know just the antique store I'd get my assortment of chairs from, and soon I'm going to start flea-mearket / antique store hunting for mis matched tables, that make me feel like sinking down and enjoying a morning treat on their well worn surfaces. Hydrangeas in little bowls spotting them in the summer. I could seat around 30, comfortably in this space.
Starbucks did their market research - the area is begging for a cafe. Nothing for blocks, in either direction. There is a bus stop right outside the side door, and the Loblaws across the street means free parking for my customers. At 8pm on a windy cool night there was enough foot + car traffic that I could stay open later. Further into the residential street are stunning row houses, all well maintained and decorated.
It's perfect. When we stepped in I could almost hear it crying out, please, make me into something beautiful.
So now it's crunch time. I will finish the business plans this weekend (one per institution / gov. program I'm going after!) and start submitting on Monday. Once I have access to the start-up capital I need, it's on.
In the meantime, I'm taking no chances and going to look at another space on Saturday, in the lovely Parkdale area of Toronto, on Queen W. It wasn't a cafe, which means more construction $$, but it's less per month, and in another cafe-bereft zone. I'm sure I'll have plenty to say about it tomorrow night. While I'm in the Big City I'm checking out Zuccarini Imports, where I hope to lease my darling Elekta Barlume, as well as checking out Tealish, where I'm dying to sample some of the delicious teas I'll most likely be stocking at Cafe Novo.
Wish you all a wonderfully happy Friday, and if you don't check back until Monday - a fabulous weekend too!