Staff of The Old East Grocer with Paul Seale – Manager of Community Development (far left) and Executive Director Andrea Topham (Center)
Nestled in the heart of the Old East Village located between Adelaide and Elizabeth Street is one of the most pleasant grocery shopping experiences imaginable. There is an entire organization responsible for this enterprise and that brings me to introduce to you ATN – Access for People with Disabilities Inc.
This 630 Dundas Street building is of heritage decent and has been in the core community for many years. As you enter off the main front entrance thru large wooden doors into a cafe-style ambiance, you are surrounded by ample seating, smells of fresh baked goods and warm friendly staff. As I proceeded thru the building, I was pleasantly surprised to find a fully functional grocery store, from locally grown produce to meats and slices of fresh bread. As you look around you will witness the OEV feel with the original wood floors in pristine condition surrounded by vibrant colors of all the products and the eclectic ambiance.
In September of 2016 this grocery store enterprise opened its doors for business and from that moment it is one of the ATN’s proudest accomplishments.
This space is a training facility with direct hands-on customer service for those individuals with disabilities who enter the program. The core function of the grocery store is to provide employment opportunities and training for the clients of ATN. The clients are provided with true real-time training in real day to day interactions with the customers. This program sets the ATN organization ahead for client employment opportunities as they are providing work experience immediately after training.
The program focuses on client-centered interactions and ensures that the quality of goods, services, and experiences are exceeded with every customer. This allows the client to gain confidence in the different areas of the store and encourages public interactions all while applying the learned skills from their program.
“We typically refer to the store as a live classroom. A grocery store offers a plethora of tasks and roles where people can discover their own strengths and passions in real-time with real people so that they are better prepared to engage in the community.
– Paul Seale Manager, Communications and Community Development ATN
There is a weekly grocery flyer that is available in-store, where many locally grown products are featured and sold. The organization strives to provide the community the best quality, healthiest food choices at the best prices much like your neighborhood grocer – the difference… the proceeds enable a great local community pillar organization to uplift the individuals they serve.
If you haven’t had a chance to experience this little gem in the downtown core, I highly recommend you do so. The overall experience is one I won’t soon forget, from the smiling staff to the pristine array of locally grown fruits and vegetables the quality cannot be beaten. The entire ambiance is clean and inviting, and you feel wonderful knowing your grocery shopping and making a difference.
They are open 7 days a week Mon-Fri 8 am-7 pm Sat/Sun 9 am-5 pm.
Their website is https://www.oldeastvillagegrocer.com/
At INVORG, we specialize in the upliftment business, our vision and purpose is to uplift communities through digital solutions. We enable organizations to transform the lives of those whom they serve.
Kate Campbell, Client Engagement Specialist -INVORG