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Hybrid delivery app and convenience store launching in downtown Vancouver this summer

The goal is to create a single business that competes with brick-and-mortar stores and delivery apps
Corner Pantry Co. will be opening its store in downtown Vancouver in July.

A new shop is opening up soon in Downtown Vancouver, bringing a new business model to the city.

Corner Pantry Co. is the creation of Abhishek Gupta, Gunish Thakral, and Brij Bhushan; the trio are behind Rollzzy, an Indian street food spot on Robson Street, and Dilli Heights, a Delhi-themed cafe near Gastown. And they're using that experience to launch their new hybrid shop.

The goal is to create a single business that competes with brick-and-mortar stores like 7-Eleven or Safeway and apps like Instacart or UberEats at the same time.

The shop will be located at 191 Smithe St, at the intersection with Cambie Street where Smithe Salad closed down earlier this year. Corner Pantry will operate like other 24/7 corner stores.

At the same time, an app is being built so people can order groceries for delivery directly from the store. Gupta explains that there will be a single flat fee for deliveries and that prices will be the same online as they are in-store.

"Instacart is charging you extra on top-of-the-shelf products," he explains. "On top of that, you're paying a convenience fee, service fees, a tip."

Building a business in-house and carefully

It helps that he has another business, Headstartt Marketing (co-owed with Aarushi Gupta) which deals with things like e-commerce. And since Corner Pantry Co. is being started by restaurant owners, supplier relations are already in place for the inventory.

"Now we are trying to do everything in-house since we have this entire infrastructure," he tells V.I.A.

The plan is to grow Corner Pantry Co. slowly, Gupta adds.

Gupta says he is cognizant of what happened with Tiggy, the short-lived grocery delivery business that set up across the city in 2022. Corner Pantry Co. is launching with just one location to serve the downtown core, and that location will serve walk-in customers, not just act as a warehouse.

"I want to test the waters and if the model is working and there's enough traction then consider covering a bigger region," he says.

The brick-and-mortar will open first, in mid-July, with the app launching later this summer. And while the store will be open 24/7, the deliveries via the app will have shorter hours. Gupta notes the hours can always be extended it there is demand.

"Scaling our business is not going to be an issue," he says. "But I want to bootstrap it as much as possible."

Products at Corner Pantry Co.

While the business model will be a hybrid, so will the products on offer, landing somewhere between a traditional grocery store and a convenience store.

That means a drinks and snacks selection akin to Mac's alongside produce, dairy and frozen foods like pizzas.

"Since we're an Indian restaurant we're using tons of spices," Gupta adds, noting there will be a wide variety of spices available for purchase.

An opening date hasn't been set, but Gupta says they are aiming for mid-July.