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Rebranded local coffeehouse chain taking over former Starbucks locations in Vancouver (PHOTOS)

And for the new locations they've got an exciting partnership with the Vancouver Mural Festival

There are a lot of vacated Starbucks locations across Canada, including several in Metro Vancouver and B.C. after the chain shuttered lower-performing outposts over the course of the past year. Now comes word a recently rebranded Vancouver coffeehouse chain will be moving into some of those old 'bux spaces.

Artigiano (the cafe formerly known as Caffe Artigiano) is taking over two former Starbucks locations with two more in negotiations. Already open is a new Artigiano at 111 West Broadway at Manitoba in Mount Pleasant, and the second will be in Whistler's North Village near the Olympic Plaza. The other two spots in the works are both in Vancouver.

As Starbucks closed down about 300 cafes nationwide, Artigiano owner Dean Shillington saw an opportunity to reanimate some of those shuttered storefronts.

“It was a welcome chance for Artigiano to refresh our brand as well as expand,” says Shillington in a media release.

“Not only does moving into these abandoned locations make good business sense, it strengthens local communities by keeping those spaces open and keeping people employed. In addition, it has allowed Artigiano the opportunity to collaborate on a larger scale with the Vancouver Mural Festival (VMF) in support of the local arts community, which, like the hospitality sector, has taken a terrible hit during the pandemic.”

Unique collab with Vancouver Mural Festival supports local artists

That collaboration with the VMF means the new Vancouver Artigiano spaces will feature eye-catching mural art. 

At Mount Pleasant, the mural wraps around the interior of the location and continues onto the exterior wall facing Manitoba Street. Called "What Comes Around Goes... and Puts a Smile on Your Face" is described as a "candy-coloured and deceptively cheerful" piece by Vancouver-based multidisciplinary street artist and muralist Peter Ricq.

As another way to drive support to VMF and its artists, each new Artigiano location will also have mural-themed location-specific merchandise - think t-shirts, mugs, and tote bags - with profit-sharing for the commissioned artists and VMF.

The European-inspired and styled Caffe Artigiano began around 20 years ago, and prides itself on using a custom in-house roast for its coffee and espresso drinks, and no automatic espresso machines. 

Artigiano plans to continue its expansion and partnership with VMP through 2022 with a mix of in-house and franchise locations across the Lower Mainland. Currently, Artigiano has 16 cafés in B.C. and three in Alberta.

The new Artigiano in Mount Pleasant is open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.