Le Marche St. George is almost like a long lost art of living where friends and neighbours come to gather and pick up milk on the way home, where everybody knows your name. In an urbanized big city and commercialized branding, corner stores lose their intimacy, and fall into traps of selling smokes, lotto, and many useless junk food simply because they are profitable. Le Marche St. George is located on St George Street and East 28th Ave (between Main / Fraser).
If you read my earlier post you can see what a charming place Le Marche St. George is. It is also because of its rustic, old world ambiance of tenderness that attracted us to do an exclusive interview with Janaki Larsen – Janaki is not only inspiring but also takes some gorgeous photos.
Without further adieu…
Nomss: What inspired you to open Le Marche St George? And why especially in a residential area in East Van? Especially ran out of a house?
JL: I have always loved Vancouver’s funny little corner stores that have long lost their origins as the neighborhood general store. Most have been taken over as convenience stores and to be profitable sell cigarettes, lotto tickets, chips and other uninspiring goods. We really felt that neighborhoods need gathering places, spaces to meet friends, pick up milk on the way home, a place where your kids can go and everyone will know who they are. The space was there but there was no such place in this neighborhood.
Nomss: What experience did you want the customer to feel with the interior design?
JL: I wanted people to feel warm, cosy and inspired. Vancouver is saturated with very well 'designed' spaces that are kind of on the cold side. I have always commented while travelling in Europe about how much more beautiful of an experience it is to get your groceries or have a coffee or go to the post office. I am a very visual person who loves to grocery shop but the experience here is very utilitarian and convenient. It does express what I feel is the best part of entertaining and food and that is the intimacy. I wanted a place that was stimulating to all the senses.
Nomss: Are all your cooked foods done in-house or sourced else where?
JL: Because of our Zoning we are not permitted to cook anything in house. We were not aware of this when we bought the building so we were forced to rethink our plans. We then went about sourcing what we felt best represented what we would have liked to do ourselves. That being said, we have an Italian neighbor who makes specialty items like Tuscan pizzas, calzone and Italian donuts. We are hoping this will change in the future but it all depends on the city.
Nomss: What sets Le Marche St George apart from the competition?
JL: I think what is most noticeably different about us is the fact that you never know what you will find here. We bring in whatever catches our fancy, anything from white heirloom eggplants, bouquets of lilacs or blankets from Mexico. We do what we love and have what we love with little compromise. Also, I am always surprised by the diversity of customers and because of our limited seating (another result of city regulations) you never know who you'll be sharing your tiny table or bench with!
Nomss: What motivated you to renovate and potentially rent / sell “Live at Le Marche St George”?
JL: The building is owned by my partner, myself and my aunt. WE live next to the shop and my aunt lives upstairs. We thought is would be a bit much to expect anybody other than a family member to live with us! We also thought it would be much more interesting to do short term rentals, private dinner parties or pop-up shops. We have no shortage of ideas so its nice to have a flexible space to facilitate them.
Nomss: Would there be future ventures in other locations?
JL: Every time I drive by a little corner store, I have a daydream! I would love to see more of them , all I need is more time!
We couldn't agree more. If only we all had more time and a bigger heart; imagine what transformations we can do with Vancouver let only the World. Lastly, VanCity, please loosen your red tapes so more of Le Marche St George! Thanks!
Le Marche St. George
Cuisine: Coffee, Cafe, Grocery
Monday - Friday 8am-6pm
Saturday - Sunday 9am-6pm
Closed holiday Mondays
E 28th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5V 2N2