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