(The Root Cellar/Instagram)

The owners of a popular local grocery store in Saanich have announced they are expanding into a second location, this time in Victoria.

‘The Root Cellar’, a family owned market located at 1286 McKenzie Avenue, will take over the space currently occupied by Oxford Foods in Cook Street Village in order to open their second branch.

“This location has been run by the Louie family for generations and we are proud to be continuing their legacy whilst bringing fresh ideas and a new spin to the Cook Street Village neighbourhood,” said Daisy Orser, one of the owners of The Root CEllar.

“They say when choosing a home that location is everything, and this is the ONE other location in the city that we have always felt would be a perfect home for a Root Cellar.”

Co-owner Adam Orser added that for years, the family had been receiving requests to open a location that is closer to home for people living in Fairfield, Cook Street Village and the Downtown/James Bay area.

This new branch is slated to open in the second half of 2021.

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You know when you have a secret, but you pinky swore (lawyers!) not to tell, and it’s torture? Well we will be tortured no more …. 12 years after opening our little market on the corner, it is with enormous enthusiasm that we announce plans to OPEN A SECOND ROOT CELLAR LOCATION! This winter we will be taking over the Oxford Foods location in Cook Street Village. We anticipate The Root Cellar at Oxford Corner opening in the second half of 2021. Honouring the farmers, and food makers in our community is a vital part of our business model, as is honouring the generations of grocers before us. This location has been run by the Louie family since 1971 and we are proud to be continuing their legacy whilst bringing some fresh ideas and a new spin on things to the neighbourhood. When choosing a home location is everything, and this is the ONE other location in the city that we have always felt would be a perfect home for a Root Cellar. We are excited to be taking our Village Green Grocer to Cook Street Village and look forward to being part of a community whose values align so beautifully with ours. Over the years we have received countless personal requests for a location closer to home for residents of Fairfield/Rockland, Cook Street Village, and Down Town/James Bay. We take great pride in being a responsive business who sincerely and intimately engages with our customers & community. They say it takes a village, and in this case, the village has spoken, so here we come. Lets do this shall we?! XO Warmly, Adam & Daisy

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In a phone interview with Victoria Buzz, Daisy Orser says the expansion is a result of The Root Cellar’s acquisition of Oxford Foods and the plan is to discontinue the latter brand.

The Root Cellar’s original location carries locally prepared foods, locally sourced and ethically raised meats from an in house butcher, a full service deli, a floral department and a garden market.

In Cook Street Village, space constraints mean they will no longer be able to have a garden centre and plan to scale back some of their offerings, but do it in a way that involves the community in the city.

“What we really want to do is bring the best of Root Cellar to our location, but according to that community and bring them what they want,” said Orser.

“That area has been the most vocal with their pleas for us to [open a new location], so we’re very confident that they’ll be vocal about why they want us to come.”

The launch of the second location is in its early stages and Orser says there are plans to offer surveys and other avenues for community members to let the Root Cellar owners know what aspects of the business they want to see in Cook Street Village.

Orser says the plan is to hire upwards of 40 people to staff the new location, and invites applications and inquiries soon as new members will be trained in advance at the Saanich location.

She adds that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a fascinating experience for The Root Cellar, as despite lower customer counts, the business actually saw healthy revenues over the past six or seven months.

This is attributed to the fact that people were shopping less frequently but buying more during each trip in order to reduce the number of times they left their homes during lockdown.

“We actually gained new customers because people wanted to be more mindful of where they’re putting their shopping dollars and support local businesses,” added Orser.

Now, Orser and The Root Cellar are inviting ideas, suggestions, and job applications from people eager to engage with them following their expansion announcement.

“Community is really our jam and we’re excited to get to know people!”