It’s a sign of the times for the future of the old Chemainus Foods location, as Laurie Douglas looks forward to the building becoming a cornerstone of downtown Chemainus again. (Photo by Don Bodger)

It’s a sign of the times for the future of the old Chemainus Foods location, as Laurie Douglas looks forward to the building becoming a cornerstone of downtown Chemainus again. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Dormant Chemainus Foods building to be revived with new market

Initiative expected to bring new life to the community’s downtown core

The former Chemainus Foods building in downtown Chemainus will soon be getting new life.

Chemainus Foods closed three and a half years ago after nearly three decades in operation, and now a new business venture is finally in the works for the building that’s been vacant ever since.

Laurie Douglas, formerly of 49th Parallel Grocery, announced on Facebook she’s been chosen as the manager by investors of an up-and-coming market at the site that will also include a fish and chip outlet and more to be announced.

The projected opening date is sometime in October.

“I’ll be looking after vendors and the events, things like that,” said Douglas. “We’re trying to create a buzz and get vendors interested. Really, the sky’s the limit. There can be touristy kinds of things, but we also want to appeal to the locals.”

Flexibility is the key word, says Douglas. With almost 12,000 square feet of space, there is room to create studio or gallery space, permanent retail shops or even offices. And there will be a meeting room that can be used for business gatherings or community meetings.

Certain plans are already in the works, but the important thing for now, Douglas added, is to involve the community and hear feedback.

Douglas indicated there also many opportunities from setting up a table to market goods or even employment in the fall for the fish and chip place or other aspects of the business. She said it won’t be anything like a flea market; rather, there will be stalls available for short- or long-term leasing.

“We’ll definitely be open to their needs,” said Douglas.

There are already a few other vendors interested, she indicated. One local person is hoping to offer shoulder massages and local artists and artisans are asking about space.

“I want to make it fun and interactive,” stressed Douglas. “I want to make it like a hub for the town.”

Opening times are already considered important to her because of the many comments that come from tourists about business closures around Chemainus, particularly on Mondays.

“We will definitely be open for the Mondays,” emphasized Douglas. “We’re going to be open later, for sure. We’re definitely not going to be closing at five o’clock … We’ll gauge the seasons as they come. Definitely, that’s a huge thing. We’re trying to enhance the other businesses. Having a market, it brings other people into town – something that’s new and interesting.”

Engagement with the public is being conducted on the Facebook page A Chemainus Project. Douglas said more details will be revealed in the next few weeks.

don.bodger@chemainusvalleycourier.ca