By Tori Weldon, CBC News Posted: Apr 20, 2017
Hossein Barar is re-opening his grocery store, Dolma Foods, after a fire destroyed the building 15 months ago.
“It’s a new building but it has the old soul,” said Barar.
Dolma Foods was a sushi counter and small grocery store with as much local food as Barar could rustle up. But the new building will also house a tapas bar with craft beer and wine, a screened-in patio and a roof top patio, a bakery and a larger kitchen.
“I wasn’t just building a new business,” said Barar. “I was hoping to build something to stay way after me.
“It’s to be part community centre … and meeting place, more than just buy a lemon and go.”
After the fire in January of 2016, Barar vowed to rebuild as a service to his customers.
“I said it then and I say it now, I don’t know if I deserve that much support, but without that much support I wouldn’t be here today.”
A temporary café across the street kept the Dolma name alive while Barar rebuilt.
But on Wednesday before a sign was even on the building, customers were sensing the store was ready to go.
Sara Thomas and a friend wandered in looking for groceries. They live in the neighbourhood and missed Dolma’s produce.
“The food is really good quality,” said Thomas.
Thomas says the area is missing a place to buy food.
“It’s nice to have a bigger grocery store where we can come and get stuff and get more complete groceries from here.”
Even though the debit machine wasn’t working and the official opening isn’t on the calendar yet, Barar made sure no one left empty handed.
“The things is, I can not turn anybody down, the doors are open, put it that way.”
Barar says it will be a few months before the kitchen and restaurant will be up and running. He hopes to start slow, but anyone looking for groceries is welcome. The shelves are stocked and staff are putting finishing touches on the building and displays.
The latest Dolma Foods is newer and slicker, but Barar feels it’s still the same place as it was before.
“It’s basically [the] same spot, we build it up with everybody’s help.”