Creating A New Storefront

I see that Liberty Wines are just about ready to open at 1622 Commercial, in the storefront that used to be Waazubee Cafe. I also see they are only taking the south side of what has now become a two-storefront building for the first time.

The original property on this lot was an office with a peaked roof that was set back 35 feet from the Drive. It was originally used as the office for C.E.Railton who was a civil engineer for B.C.E.R., presumably when they were laying track for the Chilliwack interurban. The building became increasingly isolated from the Drive as the block filled in along a more normal setback. In this image from 1926 (VPL 7144), it would be easy to miss the peaked roof showing above the “General Repairs” sign. The woman by the pole is standing in front of the “gap” made by the extended setback.

In 1929 or 1930, the building was demolished and the present structure was erected. Safeway was the first tenant and they stayed until their new supermarket was built at First & Commercial in 1940. For the next dozen years the building was used by appliance stores (Warman’s and Moore’s) and then was taken over by a series of furniture outlets. In then end, they didn’t survive and the property was vacant for a year.

In September 1963 the Grandview Chamber of Commerce issued a strong protest when it heard that Guido DiGiacinto was preparing the place to be a billiards hall. They said that such a use might be “detrimental to the area.” However, by the end of January 1964, the hall was in operation and the owner was working on plans for a coffee and snack bar. The Grasmasso Billiards Hall eventually morphed into the Gransasso Italian Restaurant and survived until the early 1990s.

The wonderful Waazubee Cafe opened up here in 1995, keeping a lot of the Gransasso decor, but adding more art and heavy doses of trance music.

The good old place kept going until November 2010 when it just couldn’t get up one morning. It has been sad to see the space vacant for a year, and so the moving in of Liberty Wines can be seen as a plus.

It will be interesting to see what takes over the northern storefront, a storefront that has never existed before