Alexandra Brigham says East Vancouver's Eternal Abundance (1025 Commercial Drive) is a “hidden gem”. While the organic, vegan café and grocery store has been around for years, she’s still working hard to get the word out about the establishment.
Brigham is the general manager of Eternal Abundance, which underwent renovations in December and January. The Hastings-Sunrise resident told the Georgia Straight that the aim of the business is to become a “full-service store” and “community gathering space”.
“Once people get to know us a little bit and find out about the place, they really tend to like it,” Brigham said, seated at the front of the café. “We get a lot of characters, as I’m sure you can imagine, who come in here and are health fanatics or skeptics or whatever—or just people who like the food.”
According to Brigham, Eternal Abundance opened a decade ago as an organic grocery store. Shortly after, it added a raw-food café called Rooted on the Drive.
In 2010, Andrew Rezmer, producer of Conscious Living Radio, bought Eternal Abundance from its original owner and merged the store and café into one fully vegan operation. Brigham signed on in 2011 and has been working toward becoming a partner in the business ever since.
The café’s menu is mostly raw, with the exception of a few cooked offerings. There’s juices, smoothies, salads, sushi, burgers, pasta, wraps, soup, bowls, and desserts. Brigham said everything is organic except for spices, and she’s working to rid the café of its last two items that aren’t gluten-free.
She noted the kale caesar salad is probably ordered the most often. The raw sandwich, falafel wrap, and cooked grain bowl are also signature dishes.
On the retail side, Eternal Abundance stocks fruits, vegetables, tea, kale chips, pesto walnuts, flax crackers, cookies, cheesecake, and more. There’s also plants and books. Brigham plans to add lifestyle products such as soap in order to make the business more of a one-stop shop.
By the cash register, there’s a comment box asking: “In one word, what does Eternal Abundance mean to you?” The staff plans to paint customers’ answers on the store’s walls.
For Brigham, Eternal Abundance is a “different kind of business”. Its staff of 15 is invited to managerial meetings and makes decisions collectively. The shop accepts the local currency Seedstock and sells goods from other vegan businesses, including Tao Organics and Zimt Artisan Chocolates. Brigham noted she also tries to purchase produce directly from farmers as much as possible.
“I get to live my ethic,” Brigham said. “Because I do the purchasing and because I source out new products and I interact with customers, I get to infuse my ethic in the place and then provide what I think is healthy.”