There is one place on Fifth Avenue that has been a fixture of the street forever: Yaghi’s Mini Mart. Part of a dying breed of these independent convenience stores in older city neighbourhoods, this was a place where you could rely upon buying some milk, or rent a movie, or buy candy, without having to go all the way to a main street such as Bank Street.
Someone who makes a living of sketching and drawing these places is artist Colin Whyte, and you can see his take on the store here (on Flickr). Going back a little further into the past, we find an August 1980 article from the Glebe Report that talks about the person who had owned the store from 1968, Ziki Wahab:
Who was Yaghi? Still a mystery. That willl have to wait another day, but what can be said is that in 1911-12, the city directory lists the place as a groceteria operated by Matthew Anderson and 10 years later in 1923, the directory lists Alex Masson as the owner. Both lived above the store.
Now the news has come that Yaghi’s is closing, as the current operators of the store, who lease it from the current owner, have been told that their lease will not be renewed as of July 31st, 2012. The owner – who also owns the parking lot and the brick building on the east side of the store – apparently wants to tear down the buildings and redevelop the property for condos. We’ll have to wait and see what exactly happens, but it will be sad to see a century of convenience come to an end.