Finch Store is a corner store near Ossington and Harbord

Corner store in danger of closing after anonymous complaint can continue to operate

It’ll be business as usual for ‘Finch Store’, a small corner store/cafe near Ossington Avenue and Harbord Street. The store was in danger of being shut down after someone sent an anonymous complaint about the store to the city’s Municipal Licensing and Standards division.

According to an employee of the store, the complaint against the owners of ‘Finch Store’ at 42 Dewson St., just south of Ossington Station, involves the store using an espresso coffee machine and selling coffee-to-go.

“The store has license to serve coffee togo but apparently it is not permitted by the city zoning plan – the mistake was made many years ago. Now that the owners bought a coffee machine (approved by license dep.) they found out, through an anonymous complaint, that it’s a problem,” the employee explained in an X post.

Store owner Yana Miriev confirmed with CityNews earlier this month that the City’s licensing division told her that the complaint was “backed by multiple drawings”, supporting the idea that they were not following the zoning by-law.

“I was extremely surprised to hear that because we have an active license, we followed the law and acted according to our permits, our existing permits.”

Thankfully, the community rallied around Finch Store, signing a petition in support of the owners, and even setting up a petition.

On Wednesday, Councillor Alejandra Bravo, Ward 9 Davenport, announced on X that City Hall has decided to allow Finch Store to continue operating as is for now.

“This afternoon, I received an update from MLS with confirmation that Finch Store’s business licence is ‘deemed to continue’ and a report to the Licensing Tribunal will be deferred until City Council makes a decision on the Neighbourhood Retail & Services Study,” Bravo wrote.

The Neighbourhood Retail & Services Study refers to a proposed zoning by-law amendment to permit small-scale retail, services, and office uses on residentially zoned lots in neighbourhoods.

““If adopted, the report’s current proposals would legalize Finch Store’s use and make a tribunal hearing redundant. This is good news which provides stability for Finch Store and illustrates how important the neighbourhood retail proposals are for our local communities,”  Bravo added in her post.

Although residents are ecstatic that Finch Store is presumably safe, many are wondering why it had to go through this ordeal in the first place.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO