How Modern Wood Fixtures Transform A Vintage Location into a Luxe Supermarket

Posted on June 17, 2021 by Michael Benarroch

How Modern Wood Fixtures Transform A Vintage Location into a Luxe Supermarket

Posted on June 17, 2021 by Michael Benarroch

The Summerhill Market Annex Location – A real-world project review.

For well over a decade, we’ve been a part of a massive shift in the Grocery shopping experience – a change that proves one thing:

Shopping for everyday staples doesn’t have to be an everyday experience.

Photo: Pencil Design

And for one of our clients, Summerhill Market, they set out to show that grocery can be anything but boring.

Initially founded in 1954 by Frank McMullen, Summerhill Market has become known as one of Toronto’s finest boutique grocery stores – marrying both convenience and elegance.  And with the opening of each new location, the neighbourhood grocer takes each store as an opportunity to create a totally unique space filled with exceptional finishes to match its one-of-a-kind experience.  

But as the team at Summerhill Market completed the designs for the Annex location, one thing became clear:

The custom fixtures and millwork teams they’ve used in the past could not deliver on the intricacy, amount of custom wood fixtures, or the timelines for the project.

Enter Canada’s Best Store Fixtures and our project management, design, millwork, and installation teams.  And while our goal is always to deliver every project seamlessly, this project didn’t come without its challenges. Mainly being:

  • Summerhill’s focus on creating a high-end look with their high attention to detail.
  • Tight project timelines, that also had a lot of change requests throughout the process.
  • And a 100+-year-old building full of quirks.

In this project review, we’ll show that there’s a lot more to building unique retail environments than meets the eye.


Photo: Pencil Design

To stand out from other grocers in Toronto, Summerhill Market set out to build a unique, custom-finished space featuring modern touches and intricate details.

As they selected their new Annex location (a roughly 100 year old building that featured amazing ceiling height and an incredible skylight) and landed on their design intention (to have a modern, custom-home, wood look and feel paired with contemporary finishes and classic brass accents), it became clear that producing the quantity and quality needed, on the timelines given was going to be a challenge.

Thankfully, this was a project that was 100% perfect for our team.  By pairing our in-house project management team, with our fixture design team, with our millwork and our installation team – these four internal working groups were able to collaborate throughout the design/build process to deliver an outstanding space.


Photo: Pencil Design

At CBSF, we came on board to deliver wall displays, freestanding shelving displays, a featured display bread wall including a feature mirror, custom checkout displays, and a feature checkout ceiling display.

In speaking with Ron Blades, our Estimating Manager and one of our project leads here at CBSF; he agrees that as you enter the space, your eyes are immediately drawn to 3 key design features:

  • The beautiful floor-to-ceiling bread wall takes up the back wall.
  • The custom ceiling fixtures surround the massive skylight.
  • And a checkout space that’s so much more than simply functional.

That One-of-a-Kind Bread wall

Photo: Pencil Design

The stunning, wooden, floor-to-ceiling bread wall covers the back wall of the store and is THE feature we’re most proud of.  Not only did it require care and a bespoke design/manufacture approach, but the installation team also had to collaborate in the design/build process with onsite material checks to ensure that everything fit within the vintage building.

Key design and build features include:

  • An integrated mirror and light fixture.
  • Bespoke brass accessories and details.
  • A bullnose on all edges required extremely intricate cutting & glue-up to ensure all finished edges matched up.

Challenges with this fixture include:

  • With the building being roughly 100-year old, the working space wasn’t plumb, straight, or level.
  • Additionally, there was existing plumbing and other utilities the bread wall had to work around and hide.
  • Throughout the design/build process – our installation team took pieces onsite to measure, cut, check… measure, cut, check… to ensure that this custom-built fixture worked in the final space, not just on paper.

The Gorgeous Ceiling Fixture Panels

Photo: Pencil Design

Another key design feature of the space are the elegant ceiling panels.  Natural wood frames matched with stretched and glued cloth coverings, and custom brass light fixtures made for a challenging build.

Key design and build features include:

  • Solid wood frames with natural fabric coverings.
  • Integrated custom brass light fixtures.

Challenges with this fixture include:

  • While the custom wood frames themselves are fairly simple, what posed the greatest challenge was the cloth backings.
  • First, our team needed to source, test, and find a fabric that not only looked the part, but could be stretched and glued without drooping, staining, or glue show-through.
  • Second, we worked with the fabric producer and adhesive manufacturers to find and batch test different build, stretching, glue-up, and installation processes to find the right application for the job.
  • Finally, our team hand-built each of the panels in our millwork facility, carefully transported them to the job site to ensure zero scuff-ups or markings, and then diligently aligned and installed the grid to create a seamless fit.

A Checkout Fit For a Lasting Impression

They say first impressions are everything, but the last impression is just as important.  So while the checkouts themselves were a standard unit – everything surrounding the checkouts were custom built.

Key design and build features include:

  • Open wood cabinetry topped with a natural stone countertop stands in front of the storefront window.
  • Metal kick plates match the bread wall and other shelving accents throughout the store.
  • Bespoke metal and glass shelves allow for decorative accents while keeping sightlines and light free-flowing.
  • The size of the checkout allows for extremely functional use of this space.


Photo: Pencil Design

From millwork to metalwork to installation, the Summerhill Market Annex location proved that we not only fully embrace a good challenge, but we always step up and deliver.

The result? Not only does the Annex location stand as proof that we can build elevated, well-designed, and functional stores and spaces that we can be extremely proud of – after this project was completed, CBSF was invited to help deliver Summerhill’s next location in Foresthill.

Of course, finding the right team to execute high-quality work under tight timelines is a challenge.  So if you need help with your next project, reach out to our team, and we’ll walk you through how we can help.