Tiny cof­fee shops help own­ers save on rent in high-cost cities

The Province - - NEWS -

but some sta­tis­tics help shape a sense of the mar­ket.

Last Oc­to­ber, Toronto’s av­er­age com­mer­cial lease rate per square foot was $21.31, ac­cord­ing to the Toronto Real Es­tate Board. But that in­cludes all re­tail­ers, and the data is part of only 40 to­tal lease trans­ac­tions that month where the price was dis­closed.

Three of the four most ex­pen­sive main streets in Canada are in Toronto and Van­cou­ver, ac­cord­ing to an an­nual re­port from Cush­man & Wake­field. The com­pany tracks nearly 450 of the top re­tail streets in 65 coun­tries. In June 2018, rents on Toronto’s Bloor Street were $300 per square foot and $100 on Queen Street West. On Van­cou­ver’s Rob­son Street, rents av­er­aged $183.

High and ris­ing rents have caused sev­eral restau­rants in both cities to shut­ter their doors in re­cent years.

Lease prices also pose a big bar­rier to en­try for new hope­fuls like Ki­tayama.

Ik­t­suar­pok Cof­fee Stand may be the new­est diminu­tive shop, but it’s not the small­est in the coun­try.

Joshua Cam­pos be­lieves his less than two-square-me­tre shop (roughly the area of a twin mat­tress) may be the small­est in the world. He’s ap­plied for the Guin­ness world record, but has yet to hear back.

The Cof­fee Lab, which opened about seven months ago, op­er­ates out of a win­dow in a small nook of a Toronto build­ing. Floor-to-ceil­ing glass lets cu­ri­ous passersby or cus­tomers see one staff mem­ber pre­pare drinks inside.


Joshua Cam­pos is owner of The Cof­fee Lab, an two-square-me­tre re­tail space on Spad­ina Ave. in Toronto.

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