Root Cellar opening second location in Cook Street Village

The Root Cellar is opening a second store in the capital region by leasing the Oxford Foods location in Cook Street Village.

Adam and Daisy Orser, owners and founders of 12-year-old Root Cellar Village Green Grocer, 1286 McKenzie Ave., take possession of 271 Cook St. in early December.

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They will carry out what Daisy Orser calls a “transformation” of the space, planning to open their new store in the second half of next year.

With a main floor retail area of 11,000 square feet, the second Root Cellar will be marginally larger than interior space in their Saanich operation, she said.

They will take over the space after the Louie family closes its Oxford Foods, an institution on Cook Street. The Louie family has operated the store for three generations, its website said.

Daisy Orser said the Root Cellar is “proud to be continuing their legacy whilst bringing fresh ideas and a new spin to the Cook Street Village neighbourhood.”

“We are excited to be bringing our Village Green Grocer to Cook Street Village and look forward to being part of a community whose values align so beautifully with ours.”

When the Orsers, along with another shareholder, were initially looking more than a dozen years ago for a space to set up in the Victoria area, they considered the Oxford Foods location as the ideal location, Daisy Orser said.

Now they have realized that dream and will be setting up in a lively village filled with other local businesses and plenty of foot traffic.

“It just feels right,” she said.

The Cook Street Root Cellar will be solely owned by the Orsers.

A representative of Oxford Foods could not immediately be reached.

Adam Orser said: “Over the years we have received countless personal requests for a location closer to home for residents of Fairfield, Cook Street Village and Downtown/James Bay.”

A second Root Cellar injects another player into the capital region’s grocery market, where competition is historically strong.

The 18 existing Oxford Foods staff will be given the opportunity to interview for positions at the McKenzie Avenue location, where there are 98 staff, Daisy Orser said.

Some of the staff in Saanich might choose to work in the new location, she said.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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