By Maya-Roisin Slater
VANCOUVER — After a seven-month pop up residency in Chinatown, Calgary-born Lukes General Store is opening their first permanent Vancouver location. Lukes originally opened in 1951 and has been passed down several generations to the loving innovative hands of Gareth Lukes. Lukes transformed the business into a one-stop shop for high quality groceries, coffee, and records. The Vancouver project will open in a small loft space on 49 W Hastings and is being overseen by Aaron Schubert, owner of local artist management company Night Heat. Dry goods are looked after by Veronika Rezucha, former owner of Lark Shop, Shaun Cowan ran the vinyl program in Calgary and moved west to oversee the records, and long time Lukes barista Laura Cummings is keeping a vigilant eye on the coffee.
Lukes will be the first in Canada serving San Francisco’s Four Barrel and De Las Paz beans. Previously they served Stumptown coffee, but high ethical standards forced them to change. Cummings commented on the exciting switch, “Beans roasted by Four Barrel are the result of direct trade relationships with farmers and above all, the coffees better.” Accompanying this better coffee will be donuts from local dessert sweetheart Cartem’s. Rezucha explains the general store title isn’t just a kitschy addition “We’re very much a general store. We’ll be carrying the things you need on a daily basis like T-shirts, socks, and apothecaries. We want to sell everything from the milk in your cereal to your underwear.”
On top of boxers and pasta the store will have everything needed to build a beautiful record collection. Including turntables, accessories, and a sprawling selection of sweet sounding vinyl.
“We want everybody who’s part of the music scene to come down, be able to shop and sell their music. Going forward we’re going to sell used records, we want to do it right so we have more than just old $2 classic rock,” says Cowan.
Shubert chimes in on the mentality of these picky decisions: “Quality over quantity has been our motto here because our space is limited. We want a good selection without filler.” The team is committed to ensuring they’re stocked with expanding vibrant selections that won’t sit collecting dust despite space restrictions, Cowan elaborates, “The Calgary store is constantly evolving. Vancouver will be the same, we know what we’re selling when we open, but we’ll be constantly adding products. You’ll have to keep coming in to see what we’re carrying.” Lukes will be opening doors this fall, so get reusable shopping bags ready and turntables dusted in preparation for the most nouveau take on London Drugs to ever meet Gastown.
Luke’s General Store opens this fall at its permanent location on 49 W Hastings St.BC, British Columbia, Lukes Drug Mart, Lukes General Store