Renovations will reveal original look of the building’s exterior
The Delton community will soon be turning back the clock, at least when it comes to the exterior of one of its buildings. Delton Grocery has been approved for historical designation by the City of Edmonton.
Built around 1914 on the corner of what is now 122 Ave and 88 St, Delton Grocery actually began as a butcher shop and has been a community store of some type ever since. The current owner, Kulwinder Sokol, bought the store in 2001 after coming to Canada as a business immigrant. He had previously worked in Dubai, England, and the Philippines, where his children were born, including his son, Harjinder Sokol.
“The store wasn’t what it is today,” the younger Sokol says, remembering it from his childhood. “It had to be developed.”
The senior Sokol agrees and says that he sees the store as a way of helping the community. Over the years, he has consistently stocked items the community needs, including warm coats during the winter months. It’s a family affair, requiring everyone to pitch in to keep the store going. They restock the shelves five days a week, yet they don’t see the store as work. They see it as community building and service, and it changes based on what the community needs.
The Sokol’s heritage designation journey began over three years ago on the suggestion of a vendor they had contacted because the building was due for an external renovation. Step one was contacting the city’s Historical Council and required a lot of research at the city archives. Once the research was complete, it was then back to the Historical Council and then on to developing the scope of the project. They had to find estimates from 25 contractors, which were hard to find as restoring historical buildings isn’t easy. It was then just a matter of waiting for approval.
“The community played a role,” the younger Sokol says, referring to the support they’ve been given over the years and in particular for this project. He mentions a visiting woman who told them that her father had owned the store sometime mid-century. She had driven into town to offer her support in their quest for historical designation.
David Johnston from city planning also played a big role in helping the Sokols navigate the process.
The designation will allow the Sokols to claim back 50 per cent of the cost to renovate the exterior of the building, to a maximum of $40,000, and will also provide money to maintain the building every five years. However, the designation does come with stipulations. All changes done must be towards reverting the building back to its original look; this includes wood siding and keeping the original window design.
Around the turn of the century, windows were built with wooden frames. To adhere to the stipulations that come with the designation, the wooden frames must be kept. The Sokols were able to find one Canadian company who could do the custom work for them, but it doesn’t come cheap. They estimate the renovations will cost around $80,000 to complete.
“We were always optimistic, but it’s not done until it’s done,” the younger Sokol says. Now that Delton Grocery has the designation, renovations can begin, and a little piece of Edmonton’s history can be brought back to life.
12202 88 St