Pirate Joe’s, Vancouver’s unauthorized Trader Joe’s reseller, will close its doors in Kitsilano this Wednesday (March 2) as redevelopment begins on the 2300 block of West 4th Avenue.
The shop is one of six local businesses forced to shutter after receiving notices last June informing them that the 1920s-era building in which they operate had been sold to a new owner.
Pirate Joe’s owner Michael Hallatt tells the Straight in a phone interview that he was originally meant to vacate the building in January, but it’s likely that the site’s contaminated soil—a result of its past life as “drycleaner’s row”—held up the developer’s demolition permit.
“We’ve been essentially squatting, you know?” he says. “But the landlord called me up last Monday and said, ‘You need to get the hell out of there.’ ”
Currently, no rezoning permits are proposed for the 2300 block, which means that the new development will likely have a similar use to what stands there now. Public records also show that the building’s land value increased by more than a third over the last year alone.
Pirate Joe’s is the last of the building’s long-time, primarily family-owned businesses to depart from the premises.
Three of the shops have found new homes: William Parton Agencies is now located at 2695 West Broadway; children’s clothing retailer Babes on Fourth is at 2581 West Broadway; and women’s fashion boutique Kate French is at 2843 Granville Street.
Ethel’s Boutique has closed and will reopen at 2750 West Broadway sometime this month.
Meanwhile, Alejandro Olmedo, owner of the now-closed Buen Café, announced on Facebook in January that he has sold his business to Ray Ochitwa and Michelle Chattaway, who will continue to offer the café’s famed coffee beans at a new location in Langley.
“There’s been a lot of love,” Hallatt says of Pirate Joe’s last few days in business. “A lot of people coming in and just expressing their feelings about the whole thing.”
Hallatt confirms that he will be moving Pirate Joe's to the Point Grey neighbourhood at 3744 West 10th Avenue. An opening date is pending, though he hopes that the relocation will give him the opportunity to expand the store’s concept, increasing stock and incorporating an eat-in café.
From now until Wednesday, Hallatt is offering Pirate Joe’s customers “spot deals,” where they can come in and haggle for the shop’s remaining goods.