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Market’s temporary new home to open next week

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“Harvest Barn” to be ready for Christmas rush; Mercedes plans to have permanent building by late-2014

It’s not a Christmas miracle, as far too much work went into making it happen, but the completion of a temporary home for the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market will make for a much happier holiday season.

The new 15,600-square-foot dome-shaped building, dubbed the “Harvest Barn,” is set to open for business on December 12.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be opening the Harvest Barn right before Christmas,” said Sheila Shantz, general manager of the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market. “The Waterloo Region community has been a true source of inspiration for us and the support that we have received over the past three months speaks to the tremendous character of the community that we live in.”

The structure, equipped with both heating and cooling systems, provides space for vendors and their customers in all seasons. It will house 49 of the vendors displaced by the fire that destroyed the market’s main building on September 2. The unaffected areas on the market grounds were able to continue operation only days later but dozens of vendors that were housed in the main structure were displaced.

The Harvest Barn will be the market’s home until late next year, when a permanent building is expected to be completed, said Mercedes Corp. president Marcus Shantz.

The new building will be constructed elsewhere on the site, with the Harvest Barn remaining to provide cover and extend the seasonal operation of the outdoor market, he added.

“We’d been musing for a number of years that we would do well to have some kind of shelter … for the outdoor market.”

There’ll be no great fanfare at next week’s opening, said Shantz, noting the priority has been to get the project completed. It’s not just Mercedes as owners that has a stake in the market, but also the vendors and the public, which has been supportive throughout the process.

“We’re working full tilt to get it up and running as soon as possible. It’s really about getting the vendors back on their feet.”

In addition to the rebuilding of the main building, more good news is on the way for the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market, as the Peddler’s Village building will soon be accommodating many of the food court vendors that customers have missed.

“Many of our vendors are looking forward to once again serving their customers in their brand new spaces,” said Sheila Shantz. “We want everyone to know that the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market is open for business and we want to welcome back our loyal market visitors as well as welcome those who have yet to experience Canada’s largest year-round farmers’ market.”

To assist displaced vendors during the market’s rebuilding phase the Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation has established a vendor relief challenge. For every $1 donated to the challenge, the foundation will match the donation by triple the amount, up to $75,000 – with the goal of raising a total of $225,000. For more information, see www.kwcf.ca/sjfmvendorrelief.

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