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Photo courtesy of Top Shelf Preserves.

Top Shelf Preserves gets a new retail location

By Jamie MacPherson on February 11, 2022



There’s a “small batch vibe” coming out of 527 Gladstone Ave. Look for the stunning sign made by Pascale Arpin in between Bay and Lyon, and you’ll find Top Shelf Preserves’ (TSP) new retail space. You can still purchase their pickles, spreads, and “seasonal, limited edition products” from city favourites like Red Door Provisions and Little Jo Berry’s; now, there’s a downtown space to connect with owner Sara Pishva and team. This is their story.

Photo courtesy of Top Shelf Preserves.

Working tirelessly to build your dream

From May 2013 to now, Sara has been building Top Shelf Preserves with the storefront offering new opportunities.

“It has been very rewarding to have a storefront—it’s so nice to be able to connect with our customers in person. We have become a popular destination for people’s “covid walks,” and it’s nice to be able to chat with folks making the time to pay us a visit,” Pishva says.

COVID-19 changed small businesses operations. If Sara wanted to expand safely, she needed more room. “I was very hesitant to grow my business in the first year of the pandemic, but I really needed more space to accommodate our growing online business.”

Sara Pishva on opening day. Photo by Little Jo Berry’s.

TSP continues to rent kitchen space in the Canotek Business Park, sharing a commercial kitchen at 21-5340 Canotek Road, with Michael’s Dolce and Hungry Babe, but having a dedicated space to run the online store drove the decision to open a physical retail location. Sara had her sights set on a Gladstone Avenue storefront, and when the opportunity emerged, she was quick to act.

Be flexible

It takes courage to open a store during a pandemic. Adaptability, passion, and love for your clients helped make 527 Gladstone a reality. And it certainly was timely, as online order fulfilment for website sales “scaled up quickly” and haven’t stopped since, says Pishva.

“I want my customers to have lots of options for getting Top Shelf Preserves. For example, we have had great success working with Buchipop Burrow Shop during the pandemic, as they offer home grocery delivery,” Pishva says. Shipping directly to customers and safe in-person pick-ups are also options at TSP’s new location. The team’s commitment to the 613 will have you well cared for.

The new storefront. Photo by Pascale Arpin.

Love change

Behind the front door, Ottawans will find a myriad of treasures. “In addition to the pickles and preserves that we make at our production kitchen, I am also stocking some locally made specialty food products. One of my favourites is the Verger Croque Pomme sparkling rhubarb and apple cider. I also brought in some balsam fir wreaths for the holidays from my cousin’s Christmas Tree Farm in Nova Scotia, J&M Reeves Christmas Greens Limited.”

Sara looks forward to bringing new products to Centretown, especially the small-run preserves she and her team create.

Courtesy Top Shelf Preserves.

Give yourself options

Each season, you’ll see different pleasures to bring home, share, and enjoy. Because Sara’s in touch with other small food businesses and local events, we anticipate future collaborations. Sara still admires outdoor events, so she’ll continue participating in Parkdale Night Market. She also plans to partake in annual community events once they resume, such as The Museum of Agriculture Cheese Soiree and Savvy Company Wine tasting events.

Bright lights

Spring 2022 plans for an official launch are underway with a live DJ and other surprises. In the meantime, the jams and jellies, marmalades and chutney, salsa, and rare specialties are bound to have you visiting their shop on Gladstone regularly.

Top Shelf Preserves’ new retail location is 527 Gladstone Ave. Find more on their website