This year marks the 50e anniversary of the Punjabi market in Vancouver.
Reportedly, the strip, also known as Little India, was the first and largest market of its kind outside of South Asia.
Starting with the first South Asian store that opened on May 31, 1970, the shopping area has grown into a bustling neighborhood.
As the Heritage Vancouver Society recalled, over 300 different stores operated on Main Street between East 48e and 51st avenues, at the height of the Punjabi market in the 1980s and 1990s.
However, during the 2000s Little India started to decline.
The companies packed their bags and moved to Surrey, where many people of South Asian origin have settled, in part because housing is more affordable.
In June 2019, the Heritage Vancouver Society released its annual list of endangered heritage sites, with the Punjabi Market tagged as one.
“Without more substantial measures regarding the experiences and types of stores, the special qualities that define the market are threatened and the Punjabi market is likely to lose its unique value for the region and the city in general,” noted the association.
Also in June of last year, Vancouver City Council unanimously passed a motion from Green Councilor Pete Fry, affirming the importance of the Punjabi market.
The motion also declared May 31, 2020, and the 50e Punjabi market anniversary as Punjabi market day in the city.
“In recent years, the Punjabi market has struggled, and new construction and residential developments have the potential to transform the region,” Fry’s motion read.
A list of businesses seems to suggest that another store owner has abandoned Little India.
A fruit and vegetable market at 6407 Main Street sells for $ 199,000.
The store operates like the Polo Market.
Listing from real estate agent Jean Seguin’s Restaurant Business Broker says buyers will have “a great opportunity to grow and develop an already established business.”
He also notes that the lease is low, with an option to renew for an additional five years.
The list described the business as profitable, but did not provide details on why the operator was selling.