Finch Store is a corner store near Ossington and Harbord

Why an anonymous complaint has this Toronto corner store worried about the future

A corner store and cafe near Ossington Avenue and Harbord Street is receiving tons of social media support after news that someone sent an anonymous complaint about the shop 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 to go 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.

The owners have since placed a sign inside their establishment, requesting that customers sign a petition to help support them in their upcoming hearing with the Licensing Tribunal about this issue.

“Help us save Finch Store, sign the petition. We are a law-abiding small family business serving the local community with honesty and integrity,” a sign posted to the shop’s window over the weekend reads.

A local resident noticed the sign and shared it on X.

“Stumbled across this cute corner store/cafe at 42 Dewson St. There is a sign in the window for a petition because complaints from a neighbour have put the store at risk. If you are walking south to Do West Fest, consider popping in an[d] signing it,” Dan Seljak wrote in an X post.

Seljak went as far as setting up a petition for the owners of the Finch Store.

“Despite a number of businesses operating at this address over the years, an anonymous complaint based on technicalities (the provision of cups and the operation of an espresso machine) has put the store at risk,” the petition states, adding that the City of Toronto is aware that local residents value these types of stores, as they are currently running consultations on how to allow them more broadly.

“Despite independent retailers succeeding against large online corporations and even in wards where population levels have dropped (like this one!), individuals can put these stores out of business or ensure they never open in the first place by leveraging out-of-date by-laws that do not reflect contemporary Toronto.”

As of publication, the petition has more than 600 signatures—and many are expressing their support across social media.

“I remember when they opened and they had to have a petition to get coffee allowed in the first place. A complaining neighbour doesn’t even surprise me, when I lived there it wasn’t the most welcoming.”

Some find it ironic as the City is currently investigating ways to support the preservation and growth of small businesses, local grocers, coffee shops, etc., in and around residential neighbourhoods.