Three years after opening the doors to it gourmet grocery store at Toronto’s Yonge and Bloor—a premium retail location in the city—McEwan has closed the location for good.
The store was part of Canadian chef Mark McEwan’s food business McEwan Enterprises, and the closure was announced on Instagram Dec. 11, two months after the company filed for creditor protection.
When McEwan Yonge & Bloor opened in early 2019, it was the third retail location for the company in the city, leveraging Mark McEwan’s “celebrity chef” status and experience as a successful restaurateur to offer a blend of high-end grocery offerings and prepared meals.
“McEwan's Yonge & Bloor will provide a diverse and complete food offering,” he said at the time. “Start the day with a cold pressed juice and Lavazza coffee at our café, enjoy a custom salad for lunch and take home a handmade pasta for dinner. We have something for every taste.”
But while McEwan Enterprises blamed reduced traffic during the pandemic for some of its financial troubles, it also suggested opening the 17,000-sq.-ft. store at Yonge and Bloor may have been an overreach.
“With an extensive footprint and significant lease and operational costs, combined with disappointing sales results, McEwan Yonge & Bloor has had the most detrimental impact on the Company’s overall financial performance,” stated the court filing in October seeking protection from creditors. “With the benefit of hindsight, the Company would have not entered into operations at this location based on the existing lease terms. McEwan Yonge & Bloor has been a significant challenge since its opening and currently remains a material issue for the Company.”
In the Instagram post, McEwan Foods indicated it would keep its other two locations at Don Mills and the TD Centre operating.
“We're extremely grateful for our wonderful staff who continue to amaze us on a daily basis. Since our announcement in October, we've been committed to providing a smooth relocation for each individual within our company,” it said.
The McEwan Group COO Eric McEwan told BlogTO the company did not know what was going to replace the store, but did not believe it would be a grocery business. “[W] e're removing all equipment that could have aided in an easier transition.”
He also indicated the company remained committed to its grocery delivery business. "Rather than brick and mortar outlets we've put a lot of efforts into our e-commerce, which will continue to be our focus for the immediate future," he said.