Vancouver business owner Jenell Parsons regrets having to shut her Pie Hole's original store

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      Moving out of a home or a storefront is a part of life in a constantly changing city.

      It’s an experience often steeped in a mix of emotions, mostly sadness from having to say goodbyes. That’s why it’s natural for Jenell Parsons to feel sentimental about having to leave her first store in Vancouver.

      After years of selling pies at farmers markets and other public events as well as at wholesale locations, Parsons opened a shop at the northwest corner of Fraser Street and East 19th Avenue in April 2017.

      “It was our flagship. It was the first place that I opened up to the public,” the founder of the Pie Hole recalled in a phone interview with the Georgia Straight.

      Known for its sweet and savoury pies, the business expanded to a second location in Burnaby in 2018.

      According to Parsons, the Pie Hole will open another store in Vancouver in April this year. It will be in Kitsilano, at the former site of a fresh-produce and juice shop at 1864 West 4th Avenue.

      However, the original store on Fraser will be closing. The East Vancouver property where the business is located is slated for redevelopment.

      A six-storey mixed-use building has been proposed for 3429–3469 Fraser Street. The project involves 104 market-rental housing units and spaces for retail.

      The current two-level commercial building on the property, which also houses a variety of other shops, will be demolished.

      “It’s going to be sad,” Parsons said. “I put everything into that. My husband and I built the whole store up ourselves and put a lot of love into this. So it’s going to be hard to see it come down.”

      Parsons said the Fraser Street property was sold in December 2017. “Rize [Alliance Properties] bought it. They’ve been pretty transparent about it,” she said.

      Parsons said that her Pie Hole may have about a year left in the location.

      The “design rationale” for the development’s rezoning application indicates that the project received considerable input from city-hall staff. “The current building massing and commensurate proposed density are a result of City of Vancouver Staff commentary and advice received May 1, 2018 and significant consultation with Staff over the past 8 months,” the document states.

      The design rationale also notes that the development will “add increased purpose-built rental residential density along a major arterial road within two blocks of the Fraser St and Kingsway intersection served by two distinct bus routes”. Moreover, the project will help “ease the demand on existing, older rental stock”.

      Parsons wants to return to the area in the future, but she accepts that it’s going to be difficult.

      “We’ve talked about it but, I mean, it’s hard to know,” Parsons said. “It takes a few years…between permits and building and for the whole thing to be up and running to be occupied again. So I’d like to be back at that neighbourhood. It’s hard to say.…It’s on the table, though.”