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There goes the Neighbourhood...

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You’ll soon be able to get a beer and a meal along with your second-hand literature at The Neighbourhood Bookstore and Café.

Owner Bill Fugler is planning on expanding his coffee shop in the heart of Wolseley into a fully-licensed, two-storey restaurant.

Local architecture firm Syverson Monteyne will design the new space. The Neighbourhood’s chef will be trained by the owners of Winnipeg restaurant Bistro 7 ¼, who will also create the menu.

Fugler’s desire to expand is partly a response to the economic pressures of running a small business.

"We’re often packed, and the other thing is the economic reality of The Neighbourhood," he said. "Every single cost has gone up — the cost of coffee, the cost of milk, any supplies, anything we’re using has gone up. We have to find a way to make the business feasible."

The expanded building will be built over top of the patio beside the cafe, with a second storey built on the existing café.

The ground floor will be the main dining area, while the second floor will have space for people to read and study. The new store will have space for four times as many books, as well as a section for new books.

Fugler expects to have the renovation completed by late 2013 or early 2014.

The face-lift envisioned for the Westminster Avenue building may look familiar to anyone who has walked down the street in the last couple of years. Architect Tom Monteyne also designed the expansion of Tall Grass Prairie Bakery.

"I’m partly joking when I say this, but I have this idea that I’d like to be the neighbourhood architect," said Monteyne.

The two buildings will share some features, with lots of glass in a façade that will incorporate the original structure.

Monteyne thinks the new restaurant will "enhance the pedestrian character" of Wolseley by providing dining and commercial options close to home.

Fugler is meeting with zoning officials while waiting for a full cost analysis. Once that is done, he will consult with the people living near his store to get their feedback on the plans.

"We’re The Neighbourhood, you can’t really impose yourself and call yourself The Neighbourhood. That would just be bad karma, I think."

Cameron MacLean is a community correspondent for Wolseley. You can contact him at cameronkdmaclean@gmail.com.

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