Page One cafe, near Ryerson campus, offers visitors the opportunity to shop local
Page One continues to be open for takeout but the cafe decided to welcome a farmers market into its space twice a week on Wednesdays from 2 to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. effective Jan. 31.
Firas Arafat, a co-owner of Page One, said social distancing and masks are required in the farmers market. A maximum of five customers at a time can enter. There are never more than 10 people at the farmers market, including staff who maintain a physical distance from each other.
Arafat said he recognized the cafe would be unable to survive on coffee orders alone during the lockdown. The cafe started to sell gourmet groceries, such as pastas, oils and crackers around October.
That is when a resident living in the building of where the cafe is located took Arafat to the farmers’ market at Evergreen Brick Works. This resident introduced Arafat to Shannon Declerc, the co-owner of Fresh and Tasty Mushrooms.
“We started looking for another small business who we can help and just give them some of the space not being utilized,” said Arafat.
Declerc said she was pleased he offered her this space. She is focused on selling mushrooms but the farmers’ market includes products such as chocolates, honey, vinegars, apples and poultry.
“It’s a smaller market, but we’re going to see where it goes and see where it takes us,” said Declerc.
She said most of the customers of the cafe live in the same building. There are people stopping by from office buildings nearby and she is looking to reach out to the condo buildings that have gone up. She hopes Ryerson students who live nearby consider visiting.
She said customers love the convenience factor because they can come to buy groceries in their pyjamas.
Arafat said he is happy an innovative idea has been implemented in his cafe.
“It’s a community-based place,” he said. “I think it gives people the feeling that they’re doing something for a local business and at the same time getting really good quality products.”