BUSINESS

The Modern General Store: Bringing a Vancouver Vibe to South Surrey

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It’s kind of an embarrassing story, but I first stumbled across The Modern General Store with my parents when
our GPS took us on a wild goose chase while we were looking for a place to get a snack. Once we finally found
our destination, we were struck by its unexpected warm and welcoming atmosphere and commitment to local
goods and provisions. I shared that it had an “urban-hipster” feel—which is a total a bonus in my books! Our
family has returned several times and are big fans of the Sunday brunch; my hubby loves the frittata, our kiddo
loves the waffles, and I love the trendy avocado toast.

Owner Laura Virginillo says that customer feedback is a “resounding ‘WOW’, ‘So great to have you in the
neighborhood’ and ‘It feels like Kitsilano or Gastown or Main Street’”.

Laura is originally from Vancouver and moved to Fraser Heights until 2011 when her family settled in South
Surrey.

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She says, “We love the area and the people and two of my three children attended Semiahmoo
Secondary.”

She felt that Rosemary Heights/Morgan Creek are two unique and vibrant neighborhoods that were missing a
community place to gather.  When she first saw the empty space, she knew it would work.

The next steps happened quickly: “In August of 2016, I saw my daughter off to Carleton University and sat in
the sun with a glass of wine and drew out the floor plan.  I left my job on Hallowe’en, papered the
windows November 1st and here we are…6 months after opening and loving every minute! Long minutes for
certain but if you love what you do like me, time doesn’t matter”.

Laura loves cooking, baking, entertaining and “basically feeding a crowd, so I put all of my past experiences
together and create a cool spot where neighbors and friends can gather, enjoy conversation and have delicious
freshly made food with their locally roasted coffee and local sourced teas”. It supports local artisans and small
businesses by offering their goods in the store and also having them demo their own products.

Laura says, “It’s through a passion for creating things and taking a huge leap of faith in my life’s experiences
that I was determined to find the perfect location and put them all together”.

The Modern General Store also supports the community by providing treats for Rosemary Heights and Morgan
Elementary schools’ hot lunches each week and have donated many fundraising baskets, gifts and prizes to
local charity events. They do catering, as well as create gift baskets and personalized gifts.

Laura says, “That’s the creativity and beauty of offering a General Store such as this because if you need
something, we’ll either make, bake, grow, find, teach or somehow get it for you.  Our evening classes have
already seen much success and we’ll keep adding more and more.”

Her favorite part of having the store in a community is meeting everyone, getting to know their families and
seeing everyone connect. The biggest challenge is finding the right mix of products and services, as well as knowing when the busy or slow times will be. By the way, they happen to be hiring!

Currently, The Modern General Store is open 7 days a week, 7 to 7 with Sundays from 9-5 (brunch is 10-2).

Follow them:
Instagram: @themoderngeneral.ca
Facebook: @themoderngeneral.ca

Kama is a public relations expert and social media marketer based in South Surrey/ White Rock.

Kama’s Ethigal Blog shares stories of social good for businesses, community builders and events.. She has over a decade of teaching experience and a master’s in community development and adult education.

While all her hashtagging keeps her pretty busy, Kama packs her schedule with local events (including her first half marathon!) and trashy television. Don’t be shy; say hello!

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