Leslieville’s Urban Bulk Emporium in Toronto
The term: “Fits like a glove” comes to mind when thinking of how the Urban Bulk Emporium came to Leslieville. Leslieville residents Aziza Popat and Cory
Wilson met back in their college days in London, Ontario. They hit it off from day one, decided to become roommates, and eventually realized they were more than just friends. They’ve been together as life partners for 3 years and now have their first love child: The Urban Bulk Emporium.
Aziza’s Grandparents started in the bulk food business decades ago and then her parents took over, and of course, just like the offspring of many business owners, she ended up working in her parent’s store to help with school expenses. When you’re immersed in a business so early in life and you grow within it, the business becomes part of you. You just know things that you can’t simply teach in typical retail training. THIS is what makes Aziza and Cory perfect candidates to own and operate this store.
Usually, when a store opens, there are growing pains, inefficiencies, break downs, etc… but during my first visit, everything seemed to be humming along nicely. Everything was labeled correctly, new stock was being shelved and Aziza was managing Cory like a BOSS I might add (sorry Cory, I couldn’t help but notice!) and I could immediately tell that they’re here for the long haul. Even more amazing, every local that checked out, congratulated them on opening up in the hood. This speaks to how caring and supportive Leslieville is. Made me fall deeper in love with the East Side.
What’s the significance of the squirrel?
Ha, some people think we’re related to that squirrel cafe in the west end but really, the Squirrel represents the urban gatherer which is essentially what people are doing here in my store…they’re human urban gatherers! – Aziza
What kind of foods do you sell here?
Basically everything you get at that other big box bulk store plus a few more niche products, freshly made peanut butter (you make it yourself!), basic grocery items (eggs, milk), all the spices you can name, and some tofu and tempeh products you’d normally have to go to the grocery store to find. Way too many things to list so it’s better you just come and check it out.
This barn-board check out table is amazing. Who made it?
The talented crew at Atelier One Five built it for us. Actually this wood comes from my Grandfathers barn back on Manitoulin Island. The thing was falling apart so we really wanted to keep a piece of it to remember and this was a perfect application for it.
Leslieville’s Urban Bulk Emporium fills a void in Leslieville retail and I love the story behind the duo responsible for giving us the gift of bulk foods. Thanks, Aziza & Cory: I hope you have a long and successful future in Leslieville. #WhoNeedsBigBox? #AintNobodyGotTimeForThat