It’s not truly summer until the St. Jacobs Farmers Market is open for business on Tuesdays. As that June 16 date draws nearer, we have one more thing to look forward to – the opening of the new market building.The original building burnt down in 2013, causing $2 million in damage. It was temporarily replaced by the Market Barn, which will still be used once the new building is open. The new building cost about $5 million.
Marcus Shantz, president of Mercedes Corp, says the building will be open to the public as of next Thursday.
“We expect that there will be a bit of a transition period,” Shantz said. “The building, we’re shooting for the 11th of June to be open. It may not be that all of the vendors will be open at that point, but the third week of June that should be all up and running.”
The former building housed 65 vendors, while the new one will have space for 70. While there’s technically more room in the 34,000-square-foot building, a lot of that is being accounted for by vendors who wanted more space or to expand their business. He notes there are a few new vendors coming in, too.
“We’ve had vendors that have been with us for decades. We certainly offered to all of those existing people to get space in the new building,” Shantz said.
The old building was 10,000-square-feet smaller than the new one, which means now people will have more room to walk around – something that can be an issue on Saturday mornings in the Market Barn.
“There are a lot of features that will be welcomed by market customers, so there’s a lot more customer space, elbowroom in this building than there was in the old one,” Shantz said. “The aisles are wider. It’s a bit more open and it’ll feel a bit more spacious than the old one.”
He continued, “We had been feeling that for some time. I’ve said it before that in 1986 when the original building was built, nobody really knew that it would become as popular as it was. On peak days the old building would become quite tight and so we’re happy to be able to make this change.”
There’s a mezzanine in the new building, just like in the old one. This means vendors on two floors. The design of the building was inspired by the old one, sticking to its traditions. It will have a sprinkler system though, something that could have prevented some damage if the former building would have had one.
“The overall layout of the exterior is going to be very familiar to people,” Shantz said. “Inside it’s a lot of wood, so it’s still a wood-frame building and I think that will also be quite familiar to people.”
There will be a bit of shuffling of vendors. Some outdoor vendors will be moving into the Market Barn, while some of those will be going into the new building. He says there’s slightly more vendor space overall. Of that, there’s more space inside the buildings, and a little bit less outdoor space. He doesn’t think the slight decrease in outside vendors will change the character of the market.
“It’s been really great and we’ve been bringing vendors in to look at their booths and start planning for it,” Shantz said. “They’ve been very positive about the space and there’s a lot of excitement around getting in there.”
The market includes a total of 300 vendors, with 20,000-square feet of space in the flea market, Peddler’s Village housing about 45 of them.
They’re not planning a grand opening just yet, but likely later in the summer. The Tuesday market will run June 16 to September 1 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., along with the year-long Thursday and Saturday market days.
“I hope that they feel at home immediately in it and I think they will,” Shantz said.