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save-on-meats hastings vancouver


save on meats

43 West Hastings St

Opened in 1957

Restaurateur moving into old Save-On-Meats building

By Cheryl Rossi, Vancouver Courier December 17, 2010


Many Vancouverites were disappointed when Save-On-Meats closed its doors last year after nearly 52 years in business.

But the old building at 43 West Hastings St. moved one step closer to a new future Tuesday.

The city gave the Downtown Eastside Kitchen Tables Project, which is led by the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House and the Potluck Café Society, a $35,000 grant to explore establishing a Downtown Eastside "food incubator"--a space where emerging entrepreneurs could test food-related businesses on the third floor.

Mark Brand Inc., which owns Boneta, The Diamond, Sea Monster Sushi and the Sharks and Hammer shop, has secured a 20-year lease for the Save-On-Meats building.

Brand plans to open a sandwich bar, deli, meat, fish and dry goods market on the ground floor to attract area residents of all income levels. It could open as soon as the end of February. The 35-year-old also hopes to establish a prep kitchen for his nearby restaurants and catering services that could provide employment to residents of the Downtown Eastside on the second floor, with support provided by the Potluck Café Society.

Brand said he'll go out of his way to ensure low-income neighbours know their business is wanted at the spruced-up locale.

"You've got people who've been living down here 40 years like 'Yes! Woodward's is coming back. Amazing.' And then they walk [there] and they're like 'Oh my God, I can't afford any of this and I feel weird in here,'" he said. "I'm not one to talk, nobody's eating at Boneta that's from the neighbourhood... This project, in particular, the neighbourhood's going to get invited first."

Local Food First, a coalition that includes representatives of Vancouver Farmers Markets and Simon Fraser University's Centre for Sustainable Development and aims to increase food production in Metro Vancouver, will help the Kitchen Tables Project study the feasibility of the proposal.

Joyce Rock, executive director of the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House, said the idea is for Downtown Eastside residents who want to sell food--everything from cookies to salad dressing--could use the potential incubator kitchen for a set period of time and get help with packaging and marketing.

The food incubator could also be used by the Kitchen Tables Project, which plans to provide supported employment to low-income residents of the Downtown Eastside starting next year, to process donations of food such as produce.

Rock believes Arctic Meat and Sausage and Yves Veggie Cuisine got their starts in the Save-On-Meats building.

"What we're all very happy about is the fact that that space is going to be used what it's historically been used for, which is incubating Vancouver food-related businesses," said Heather O'Hara, executive director of the Potluck Café Society. "In our case, the extra advantage is where are the employment opportunities for Downtown Eastside residents, and where are the opportunities to cultivate and nurture small businesses in this neighbourhood."

The feasibility study will run January to June. If the incubator is deemed a good idea, the next step would be a business plan.

"What it points to, and it pleases us greatly, is that Nicole and Mark Brand are very interested in talking with and working with the pre-existing community, and that sets them aside as a rarity in terms of new businesses that have come into the Downtown Eastside," Rock said.

© Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier


Here is a pic of the 'horseshoe' counters at the back. This photograph was taken at closing time, March 2010. The busiest time was around 10am

Hey, grab a stool at the diner
By Judith Lane
March 20, 2008

Although I’ve shopped at Save-On-Meats for years—the service, meat selection, and prices are unbeatable—it took a sandwich board out front offering a one-pound, two-patty burger for a sweet $3.99 to lure me to the lunch counter in back where 33 orange stools ring a triple-horseshoe yellow Arborite counter. The burger—hand-formed, juicy patties contained in a thin white bun that somehow holds together—comes with a mound of fries. Menu selections run from the usual bacon and eggs to liver and onions, chow mein, and buffalo burgers ($4 to $7.50).
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Mr and Mrs Chan ran Chans Food Market inside Save-On Meats. I especially liked the dried fruit and bags of pistachios and cashews.
Date: March 2010

Save-on-Meats dims the lights after 52 years

By John Mackie, March 13, 2009

After almost 52 years in business, Save-on-Meats is set to close today.
Owner Al DesLauriers had hoped to sell the business, a local icon because of its dazzling neon sign. But a deal to keep the meat market open fell through two weeks ago, and the 78-year-old DesLauriers is closing down so he can retire.
The sign will remain up for the time being, and the Save-on-Meats coffee shop and produce department will remain open. DesLauriers is still hoping to find someone to take over the meat department, but is also trying to sell the four-storey building at 43 West Hastings for $3 million.
The store was one of the only businesses to survive the long, troubled slide of Hastings street downtown from a shopping mecca to a commercial no-man’s land.
“The storeowners along here got scared, like Sweet Sixteen, places like that,” says DesLauriers.
“They closed up and went to the malls. I didn’t have that fear. I thought I’d just do a good job, and I’d have the business. And I did.”
The business suffered, of course. When it opened on Aug. 29, 1957 the meat department had 75 employees; when it closed it had 18. But DesLauriers says the business was always viable.
“I’ve always made ends meet, let’s put it like that,” he says with a laugh.
“I was able to pay everybody and buy the building and did what I said I would do.”
The store was founded by Sunny Wosk, of the Wosk department store family. The name came from a company in eastern Canada that had let the trademark lapse, and the sign was the genius of Jimmy Wallace of Wallace Neon.
The revolving part of the sign dates to the 1940s, when it was used by the previous tenant, Jones Tent and Awning.
It’s a great example of over-the-top ’50s neon signage. The revolving bit is three stories high and reads “$ave-on” on one side, “Meat$” on the flip. On either end are flying pigs holding money bags that read “$.” Just in case you miss the name, there are three other neon signs that read “Save-on-Meats” on the building canopy, along with flashing arrows ushering customers in over the two doorways.
Customer Vern Berdam says it’s a good example of what Hastings Street was like in its prime.
“Hastings Street used to be fun,” says Berdam, 71.
“Back in the ’60s there was always something going on, right from Cambie all the way down to Gore. Back in those days it was safer for a woman to walk the street down here than it was on Granville Street.
“This was a great fun area, a lot of diversity in the shops and the stores. A great ethnic group of people.”
DesLauriers fell in love with Hastings street when he was a kid.
“A friend of mine’s father owned a meat market in New Westminster and we used to go to help to clean up,” he relates.
“His dad would give us some money, we’d jump on the trolley car and come down here to the corner of Hastings and Carrall, and go up and down the street looking at what movie we were going to go to. Because it was all movies in here.
“I said to my friend Ronnie, ‘One day I’m going to buy this building right here [at 43 West Hastings] and I’m going to put a meat market in.”
He did indeed go into the meat trade and, when Wosk approached him to run Save-on-Meats, leapt at the chance.
“We made a deal that if I would run the meat department as if I owned it, he would sell it to me,” he says.
“And that’s how that went. It was done on a handshake, 25 years later.”
He credits his Christian beliefs for helping to make it through the tough times.
“Even at the very very lowest times when it looked like you couldn’t even walk out the door without being ... injured or something from some of the people here, it still felt good to do business,” he says.
“It was like an oasis in the dessert, people have told me. I didn’t have any security at any of my doors, I feel once you do that you had a barrier between you and your customer, so I don’t do that. We weathered it out.”
He did field a couple of offers for the building, which dates to the early 1900s. But the buyers wanted to tear it down and build condos, and he backed away.
“I made it very clear [to the real estate agent] how I wanted it sold, that the person you bring to me wants to run it and continue what I’ve got,” he relates.
“[But the potential buyers] said ‘We don’t want to buy it that way ... we just want the assets, to tear the building down, get rid of the sign right now, get the coffee shop out of here.
“I had two buyers like that who had cash and were ready to give it to me. But what good is money if everything you’ve done is just gone?”
DesLauriers wants to sell the building along with the business. But he’s not going to sell it unless he gets an assurance his meat market will survive.
“I’ll give the business away for free, if somebody would just buy the building and keep it going,” he states.



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