Jessi Gillis’ Highland Drive Storehouse (5544 Kaye Street) changed the neighbourhood when it opened on the Hydrostone Market’s main strip back in spring 2012, and now it’s changing hands.
This week brought the news that Getaway Farms would be taking over for Gillis but keeping the Storehouse’s name, staff and vision as is. “They have always aligned with our philosophies and looking at next steps for my staff it seemed like the next natural step,” says Gillis, who approached Getaway with the idea this spring. “It felt like a really natural thing...they are famers, we’ve always bought all our beef from them, their butcher trained our butcher.” Gillis will transition out of the butcher shop this summer, but will continue with the catering side of the business (under another, undecided name) working between Halifax and the valley, with the longterm aim of opening her own restaurant.
“For the time being we're just going to learn from the staff and their clientele,” says Getaway’s Chris de Waal about coming weeks. “The whole spirit of a neighbourhood butcher is that it serves the neighbourhood. We want to progess slowly and with respect to Jessi and the existing staff and customers. The sky is the limit we have this farm behind us that allows us to do a lot of neat things.”
A proper send-off for Gillis is in the works for August 2, but she says her step away from the Storehouse is far from a goodbye. “I'm still going to have to shop there,” she laughs. “I'll still be seeing the same staff and I’ll still be recognizing all the things that the store was to me, except as a customer.”