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Root Cellar opens on Cook Street to warm welcome

Old Oxford Foods space transformed with modern renovation

After months of passersby peering in through papered windows, the Cook Street Root Cellar is officially open.

The grocery store slid open its doors Wednesday morning to a steady flow of shoppers keen to see how local owners Daisy Orser and her husband Adam had transformed the space.

For the past five decades, neighbourhood residents have known the Cook and Oxford streets site as Oxford Foods, a family-run shop with a no-nonsense interior. Last fall though, third-generation owner Ed Louie announced he was retiring and selling the site.

“It’s absolutely a dream come true, this location. We were ecstatic when the opportunity arose,” Daisy Orser told Black Press Media.

In the year since purchasing it the Orsers have transformed the space into one almost unrecognizable from that of Oxford Foods. The chic black and natural wood exterior is decorated with industrial string lights, expansive windows, an enormous “eat your veggies please” sign, and a mural. Inside, bohemian pendant lights, a neon sign and neat produce displays add to the modern, hipster-esque design.

READ ALSO: Cook Street Village grocery icon closing, new owners plan major renovation

Daisy Orser described it as the urbanized version of their original McKenzie Avenue store.

“We jokingly call them ‘country mouse’ and ‘city mouse’ because they’re the same family, but this one just has a little bit more of a vibe.”

The Cook Street store doesn’t have a coffee shop, garden centre or pot shed like the McKenzie Avenue one, but it has kept the uniquely Root Cellar quirk of a live music booth. And, it holds the same values of fostering community and growing interest in local, quality foods, Orser said.

“We’re here to rekindle the flame.”

She said they were thrilled Wednesday to finally let people into their store.

“We’ve been made so welcome. We’re super, super grateful for that.”

The store is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.

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About the Author: Jane Skrypnek

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media after starting as a community reporter in Greater Victoria.
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