Our family and generally, Nelson’s Uphill neighbourhood, deeply feels a loss. Burrell’s Grocery, a 117 (or so) year old institution, closed its doors for the last time on Aug. 6.
Thank you to the owners for keeping the neighbourhood centre open for so long, in spite of economic hardship in a changing world of less walking, online shopping and longer open hours of grocery stores. Your commitment to community was outstanding. In the 23 years I have lived in Uphill, Burell’s certainly added convenience and walkability to my life. My family can, and generally does, live car-free for our Nelson activities.
To us, Burrell’s was: welcome shade for a cool drink on the hot walk up Stanley Street; a quick morning walk for ingredients to prepare breakfast for the still sleeping family; a rite of passage for generations of Trafalgar students to have a little after-school freedom for sweet purchases; and our go-to place to shop local for gifts of Oso Negro, Ebesse Zozo, and Nelson Chocofellar.
In these times of physical distancing from COVID, the importance of home, community and connection is clear. The old fashioned and nostalgic corner store returned as a place to see neighbours and have some brief and safe human interaction.
As Nelson and the West Kootenay prepare for a 100 per cent renewable energy future, short distances to walk, bike and now e-bike, to access everyday needs and connect to community become an easy way to achieve many of our daily trips and reduce our individual need for fossil fuel driving. My own mantra has always been “walking puts time in my day” and I have appreciated stopping at Burrell’s as part of my commute.
Remember the corner store in future neighbourhood planning exercises. These are community centres still vital for local connection. Thank you, Burrell’s. We will miss you and wish the newest owners a successful future in their next endeavor. You are sorely missed in our neighbourhood.