The Nouveau Frigo Vert

Non-Profit Health Food Store Relocates to More Accessible Space, Secures $100,000 Grant from CSU

Hilary King, an employee of Frigo Vert, stands inside its new space. Photo Nikolas Litzenberger

Le Frigo Vert has officially moved into its new space at 1440 Mackay St.

The self-described “anti-capitalist food store” has been planning the relocation since December, but has been looking for the new space for years.

“It’s hard to find spaces around here,” said Maria Forti, media representative and member of the Frigo Vert collective. “We were looking for two to three years to try and find a space that was accessible and relatively affordable.”

The old space, which was occupied by Le Frigo Vert for nearly two decades, had problems with insulation, flooring and frozen pipes.

It was also wheelchair inaccessible, which was one of the primary reasons for the store’s relocation.

Many of the counters in the new space are lower to the ground; there is a ramp in front of the store; there will be a rail installed in the bathroom and the isles are meant to be big enough to accommodate wheelchairs.

“The plan would be to have at least a number of those kinds of [five-foot radius] spaces so that someone felt like they could turn around where they wanted to,” Forti said.

The relocation was also meant to double the store’s capacity—it’s also going to cost nearly double the rent.

Despite being around the same size in terms of square feet, the space being used for the “store itself” has doubled, according to Forti. She also said that the old rent was $4,500, and the new one is set at around $8,500.

“We’re predicting that our sales will go up enough to cover the rent in a couple of years,” she said. “So we’ll be dipping into our savings for the first year of it, but then hopefully we’ll be fine.”

The total project cost was $173,531.

The store received $130,000 in financial aid to help fund the move. They received $20,000 from the Sustainability Action Fund, $10,000 from the Concordia Council on Student Life, and
$100,000 from the Concordia Student Union Student Space, Accessible Education and Legal Contingency Fund.

Le Frigo Vert funded the remaining $43,531 difference through their fee-levy.

The CSU approved $100,000 of financial aid at a regular council meeting on March 9—the sentiment surrounding the funding motion was that it was a “no-brainer.”

Most of the construction is already completed, but bars still need to be installed for the front ramp, the indoor ramp and the bathroom in order to make the space fully accessible for wheelchairs.

A sink also needs to be re-installed in order to be lower to the ground.

The front ramp is in need of repairs, which Forti says they have been pushing the landlord to do for months. If all goes according to plan, the new Le Frigo Vert will be open for business on March 16.

“We’re pretty close. Everything’s here, its just a matter of getting things out of the boxes and getting them on the shelves,” Forti said.

Correction: In a previous iteration of this article, Frigo Vert was described as a “co-op,” which is false. The article has been updated to call Frigo Vert a “non-profit health food store.” The Link regrets the error.