Brigden Block


1413 11 Street SW

The commercial / residential building is one of three historic structures situated at the north-west corner of 11 Street and 15 Avenue SW. The lots are oriented north-south, facing 15 Avenue, but the buildings face east, fronting 11 Street. Together with the east-facing buildings on the north half of the block, these structures comprise a rare, intact pre-World War I commercial streetscape a full block length.

Walter James Brigden (circa 1873-1961), a London-born grocer and butcher (1910); F.P. Switzer, grocer (1911); Silas N. Shier, grocer (1912); Jenkins' Groceteria No.4 (1918-68). Jenkins' Groceteria originated in Calgary in 1909, when Henry Marshal Jenkins (1881-1945) and partner John Cornfoot opened a store in Inglewood. Jenkins became the sole owner the following year. Jenkins and his brother Frederick operated a store in this building from 1913-1915. Since associated with the Jenkins firm of any building in the City. During World War I, Jenkins, buisiness volume increased, but he faced a tight labour market. He adopted a buisiness model used by Seattle Groceteria, converting his Inglewood store into the first self-service grocery in Canada.

Instead of having the clerk fill their order, shoppers chose the items from the shelves themselves, and then brought them to the clerk for purchase. This system reduced labour costs and increased staff efficiency, which made possible a greater volume of sales. Jenkins passed his savings to the customer by being able to lower his prices. At some point, Jenkins also introduced home grocery delivery using bicycle couriers. Jenkins incorporated his business in 1918 as Groceteria Stores Company (renamed Jenkins' Groceteria Limited in 1928), and began opening new outlets around the City and in smaller Alberta centres. Jenkins' son Ronald sold the chain to Western Grocers of Winnipeg in 1959.

Greek-born buisinessman Jim Kokos (1918-1993) moved 'Jim's' grocery and cafe here in 1968. He operated Jim's Grocery and Cafe at the north end of the block (1407 - 11 Street SW) from about 1962-1968 before moving it into this building.

Around 1978, it was renamed the Kalamata Grocery, after an olive-rich  region of Kokos' homeland. Kokos found his niche as an importer and vendor of olive oil, feta cheese, and other Greek foods. His sons Gus and George still run the business at this location, and own the adjacent Brigden Shops and Brigden Block.




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The Brigden Block houses some of the areas most interesting small businesses such as Kalamata grocery, the Galaxy Diner, and the Palace of Eats.