Review: Lukes General Store

Lukes General Store | BCBusiness

Serving gourmet coffee with your deluxe deodorant

The scent of freshly ground beans emanating from the coffee counter inside Lukes General Store in Vancouver’s Chinatown Space Lab competes with potent smells from other products—such as $13 ginger mint toothpaste—lining the adjacent brick wall. The curious drugstore/coffee shop was launched by Calgary-based entrepreneur Gareth Lukes, who took a piece of his family’s eclectic pharmacy (Lukes Drug Mart) and brought it to the West Coast.

The shop peddles personal care products, but the coffee bar—serving Portland-based Stumptown Coffee Roasters beans—is the centrepiece of the space. “What we wanted to do is duplicate the experience you would get of going to one of [Stumptown’s] cafés,” says Lukes, adding that he’s trying to cultivate an approachable vibe, not wanting to alienate anybody with pretentious coffee culture.

The pop-up shop will remain in Chinatown indefinitely, but Lukes says he’s considering something longer-term. “We’d like to do something permanent—we’re kind of contemplating what that necessarily would be,” he says. “I may want to do a pharmacy out here, but I’m still on the fence about that.” (