The Vic Public House on Church Street is the latest Village business to close its doors.
Owner Jimmy Georgoulis, who owns three other bars in Toronto, says the pub at 580 Church St was not profitable during the winter months. It closed Dec 16, he says.
“The winters on Church Street, it was really difficult,” Georgoulis says. “I just downsized my company and moved all my staff to O’Grady’s and Fox and Fiddle.”
Georgoulis also owns O’Grady’s on Church Street, the Fox and Fiddle on the Danforth and Fantasy Farm, a banquet hall and event centre, on Pottery Road. He says no permanent staff at the Vic lost their jobs. “They were all transferred to my other locations, so that’s good.”
The Vic employed between eight and 10 staff members in the winter and approximately 40 in the summer. Everyone hired in the spring and summer was notified that the job was only temporary, Georgoulis says. “No one lost their job. It was a smooth transition.”
Georgoulis, who opened the Vic in April 2012, doesn’t know whether the building owner has new plans for the property. Xtra could not reach building management by press time. Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam says she is not aware of any development applications to the city.
“I just know, for me, it was time to make a change,” Georgoulis says. “I’ve got my family. I’ve got a lot of stuff going on. It was just too much to run four restaurants.”
Next door to the Vic, the Italian restaurant Sugo also closed recently. It’s unclear why, but a sign was left on the door suggesting customers should eat at the Vic instead. Georgoulis says Sugo likely suffered the same fate. “I mean, look at Church Street,” he says. “There’s not enough business in that strip of the neighbourhood . . . look at O’Grady’s. We are busier than ever. At the Vic, the patio was the big seller.”
David Wootton, manager of the Church-Wellesley Village BIA, says it’s unfortunate the Vic closed, but he’s hoping another independent businessperson opens a new bar and restaurant on the corner, maybe even using both vacant spaces.
“So, someone with big bucks could come in and have a heyday with it,” he says. “But I don’t know what will happen. It’s a lovely facility. I’m sure someone will snap it up in the new year.”
Elsewhere in the Village, Wootton says the space formerly occupied by Flatirons, which went out of business in January, remains vacant. Also vacant is the space next to Super Freshmart, which was carved out when the variety store downsized in March.
Wootton confirms that Starbucks will soon be moving up the street into a larger space, currently occupied by 724 Movies and More. “They know they have a really good market here. So they’re expanding,” he says.
“I also know that 724 is still planning to relocate to another location in the Village, but the new location has yet to be confirmed,” he says.
It’s still not known what will happen to the space formerly used by Priape. In October, managers at the Montreal-based gay store and sex shop chain announced they were shutting down all locations except the flagship store in Montreal and the online store. “I have heard that another retail store may take it over, which would be good. It’s a valuable property,” Wootton says.
Just off Yonge Street, Biryani House, an Indian restaurant at 25 Wellesley St, has new owners and a new name, Spice Village. Iftekhar Rana says he opened Dec 1; he doesn’t know the previous owner.
“I just love the neighbourhood. I have lived on Wellesley since I came to Canada in 2004 from Bangladesh,” he says. “I love this area. I have always wanted to open a restaurant here. Business has been good so far, but new businesses take time.”