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New business blooms in iconic Hillhurst Sunnyside location

Residents of the Sunnyside community saw the loss of a neighbourhood staple in Samie’s Food Store back in 2015.

Since then, the location has been vacant.

“The wonderful lady that used to own it was awesome,” said Andrea Minor, a resident of Hillhurst Sunnyside for more than 25 years.

“Every Friday, she would make homemade wonton soup and spring rolls, and everyone in the neighborhood knew to go early because she’d always sell out.”

Samie’s was a convenience store that had DVD/VHS rentals, a laundromat, groceries, and fruits and vegetables.

It was owned by a couple and was a family business.

“I would go there with my daughter on Fridays. We would go and pick up a movie and get snacks, and do laundry. We were there all the time,” said Minor.

“It was such a staple, that little store. It was sad when they closed.”

Minor isn’t sure when Samie’s opened, but said the grocery store was in the neighbourhood since before she moved in.

It’s unclear why they closed.

“The owner actually had a double knee surgery, and I know it was just really hard on her. Just going to work every day,” said Minor.

The location hasn’t seen any businesses enter the former premises since Samie’s closed, until March 30, 2022.

Flowers poke through

And Some is a café and flower shop on 7 Street and 5 Avenue NW, the building that Samie’s used to occupy.

Reina Moon owns and operates And Some, and she was happy to find a location for her new business.

“I saw a picture online at first, and I liked the building from the outside, and the community,” said Moon.

“I didn’t realize that something like this place existed. When I found this building, it surprised me.”

Moon, 30, moved to Canada from Daegu, South Korea 10 years ago, and has dreamed of owning a café for the past six years.

“The first time I dreamed of owning a café, I [wanted] to serve Korean-style drinks and dessert. But last year, I opened a flower shop by mistake,” said Moon.

Moon and her friend owned a business together briefly and have since parted ways to start their own separate businesses.

And Some, a cafe/flower shop, on the corner of 5 Street and 7 Avenue NW in the Sunnyside neighbourhood in Calgary on Thursday, March 31, 2022. Samie’s Food Store used to operate in this location, and was in the neighbourhood for more than 20 years before closing in 2015. ALEJANDRO MELGAR FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

New addition to the neighbourhood

The Hillhurst Sunnyside neighbourhood is connected and tightly knit, according to Minor, with the area being a “small town.”

“All the neighbours know each other, and everyone looks out for each other.”

Moon is nervous about starting a business in a well-established community and noted the anticipation of the residents.

“While construction was going on, I noticed many people trying to watch. I could see they are really interested in this location,” said Moon.

“I should make some really good pastries and drinks. Not just simple coffee or normal dessert.”

For their coffee selection, Moon has partnered with Rosso Coffee Roasters.

And Some had a soft opening, and they will have a grand opening on Thursday, April 7.

This is the first business to open in that spot since Samie’s closed.

“It’s going to be fantastic,” said Minor when asked about the new business in the former Samie’s building.

“It’ll become really popular. I know it will.”