Meens hopes to add new life to community
Opening grocery store in a tough neighbourhood doesn't worry owner
By Richard Watts, Times Colonist April 14, 2009
A new-age grocery store specializing in locally grown produce is opening on Pandora Avenue in a block notorious for junkies and shopping-cart hoboes.
Scheduled to open in June, the store called Village Family Marketplace is undergoing renovation and reconstruction at 920 Pandora Ave. which is a storefront formerly occupied by a housepainting business.
It's located across the street from Our Place, 919 Pandora Ave., a drop-in centre offering free meals and some shelter to the city's street people.
He Means Business
“First of all, I have the belief that Victoria is such a tight little package that there’s a lot of workable space that is sometimes regarded as unsavoury, and it’s only because it’s not being utilized properly,” Meens told Monday. “When we opened Mo:Le just about five years ago—I don’t know if you recall—but it was quite similar to this area, and I got a lot of the same type of response that I’m getting now to my choice of location, but the idea is just that if you really have something that is of value, and of high enough integrity, it’s a small enough city that you’re not really going to be cast out.”