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Local designers, artisans merge at Ambleside store
A new “coastal inspired” store is breathing life into West Vancouver’s most contentious block.
A possible sign of future revitalization, Station & Post at 1362 Marine Drive is home to a collaboration of designers, importers and artisans.
Owner Michelle Kelava-Juszczyk, a furniture designer, spent a month renovating the bright waterfront location, which was once home to Beachside Forno.
“It’s a way to get vendors and designers together and give them a presence in the West Van market,” she says standing among the store’s eclectic “beachside cottage” furniture and accessories.
Kendall Gustavson, who grew up in West Vancouver, runs The Modern Pantry in one corner of the store. After specializing in food and culture at the University of Gastronomy in northern Italy, she brought her knowledge back home to the North Shore.
“I want to bring new products that use old skills to the Canadian market,” she says, a small bottle of honey, harvested in West Vancouver this summer, sitting on the counter beside her.
“In a time when so much emphasis is placed on sourcing locally, sometimes the key to ethical purchasing is lost: genuine and direct relationships with producers.”
The Modern Pantry offers a range of food from Canada, the U.S., Italy and France, including unique jams — sour cherry, craft beer, onion and green tomato — olive oil, chocolate and candied fruit baskets that would be otherwise difficult to find on the West Coast.
Determined to make Station & Post a mainstay in West Van, Kelava-Juszczyk says the store will likely be moving somewhere else in the district when the lease is up. Buildings on the south side of the 1300-block of Marine Drive will be replaced by a new development, which includes a six- and seven-storey building with commercial and residential space.
West Vancouver Mayor Michael Smith has called the area a “shantytown” because of aging and boarded-up buildings. New, modern stores are part of the revitalization effort backed by council.
All together, Station & Post represents three international buyers, two interior designers and a host of local artisans that make everything from candles to bath salts. By collaborating on the space, the business owners share the burdens of starting a retail business.
High quality peel-and-stick posters are a unique item at the store, says Kelava-Juszczyk. Any image can be recreated for homes or businesses, she adds, pointing to a map of the world that spans an entire wall.
“By working together, we’re making it easier for designers and artisans to reach people,” she says.